Soccer makes region title game

Published 10:31 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

LOUIS MEJIA (No. 9) and Daniel Provence fight for the ball against Hardaway players Friday in a Region 1-AAAA semifinal game. Bainbridge won, 3-1.|Joe Crine

Coach Jamie Ard’s Region 1-AAAA South Sub-Region champion Bainbridge High School Bearcats soccer team defeated Columbus’s Hardaway High School Golden Hawks, 3-1, at Centennial Field on Friday.

The Bearcats, who are 14-3, met the 14-1 Region 1-AAAA North Sub-Region champion Houston County High School Bears for the region championship, Tuesday in Warner Robins, Ga. That game was not completed by press time.

Regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, the Bearcats will host a State Class AAAA playoff game Tuesday, May 1, at 6 p.m. at Centennial Field.

Email newsletter signup

The Bearcats opened the scoring midway through the first half Friday against the Golden Hawks. Emiliano Rivera took a pass from Emilio Hernandez on the left side and powered a shot into the goal.

Daniel Provence extended the lead to 2-0 just before halftime, taking advantage of an assist from Louis Mejia.

The Bearcats extended their lead to 3-0 early in the second half, on a goal by Emilio Hernandez with an assist from Rivera. D.D. Dudley scored the Golden Hawks’ only goal in the 61st minute.

“Friday’s win over Hardaway may be the biggest in school history to date,” Ard said. “Hardaway coach Rick Iden has a strong team and I really respect and admire him as a coach.

“I believe they have made the playoffs 18 of the last 19 years, so that was a quality team that we beat.

“The whole team pulled together and did what it took to win. We played outstanding team defense and it frustrated Hardaway greatly.

“Our backline held up exceptionally well and Kimani Crawford and Lenorris Flanders did very well on the outside against some very speedy attacking players.”

Ard said he also felt that Villeser Sarmiento and Ricardo Campos locked down the middle of the field.

“Dominic Douglas made some huge stops in goal,” he said. “None was bigger than when he stopped a goal opportunity in the first half that would have given Hardaway an early 1-0 lead.

“I think that save really shifted momentum in our direction. Dominic is truly getting better with every passing game.

“I’m proud of Michael Bush, Giovanni Gabino and Courtlind Miller, who gave us some minutes off the bench to help relieve our starters. They work hard all week and never know whether they will play or not, but when called upon, they come through.”