It wasn’t the prettiest of wins by Heritage coach Brandon Stewart’s standards, but the Patriots boys varsity soccer team continues its postseason march after topping Creekview High School on the road Tuesday night in the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
Heritage underclassmen Edder Mendez and Adam North netted a goal apiece in the Patriots 2-1 victory over the Grizzlies, as Heritage upset the Region 7 champions to earn a date in the final eight against No. 4 Greenbrier.
Mendez found the net with less than 10 minutes to play, giving the Patriots their first visit in the third round since the 2003 season when Heritage finished tops overall in Class AAAA with Dalton High School.
“I’ll be honest … we didn’t play that well,” Stewart said. “We had a lot of miscues in the back and gave them hope. However, all throughout the year, they’ve worked (and) fought for one another. (We have) serious team strength and togetherness.”
Heritage now advances to the third round to take on the state’s fourth ranked team in Greenbrier on Friday night. Greenbrier advanced to the third round with a 1-0 shutout victory over Forest Park in the tournament’s opening round before defeating Bainbridge 6-0 earlier this week.
After a scoreless first half, Creekside struck first in the second half of play, taking a 1-0 lead before North tied the contest on an unassisted goal five minutes into the half.
With just over nine minutes left in the contest, Mendez struck, finding the bottom left corner of the net for the go-ahead score.
Creekview amped up its offensive pressure over the waning minutes, but Heritage keeper Connor Domeleski kept the Grizzlies off the scoreboard, securing the win.
“I thought we regrouped (in the second half) a bit and went after the game,” Stewart said. “This is a byproduct of training. We push and create scenarios where they must go get a win. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but when you get to this point, the win is more important.
“We didn’t play very well, but we still progressed,” he said. “I’m proud of my guys for hanging in there and getting a (positive) result. (It will be a) big test against a really good Greenbrier team.”
The Patriots contest against Greenbrier is set for 6:30 p.m. against the Region 2 champions.