Editor's note: Because of a copy editor's error, this article contained the incorrect location and opponent for Greenbrier High School's game Friday night. Greenbrier will play at Lambert High School on Friday night. The Chronicle regrets the error. This story has been changed to reflect this.
When the clock ticked down to zero Tuesday night, Greenbrier head coach Chip Warren and his Wolfpack gave themselves a chance to do what no other Greenbrier boys soccer team has done.
With a 2-0 win in the GHSA Class AAAA state semifinals at home against Starr’s Mill, the Wolfpack advanced to the finals Friday night. The last time the Wolfpack were in a state final was 1999, the year before Warren became head coach, losing to Woodward Academy on a late goal.
“This is as far as we’ve been with this group,” said Warren, noting that the Wolfpack have been to at least the round of eight since 2005. “We’ve been trying to get over that hump and everything right now is icing on the cake, but by no means are we satisfied.”
The Wolfpack will play at Lambert on Friday night.
“Seeing the big crowd we had over here; it’s just an electric atmosphere and it’d be unbelievable Friday night,” Warren said.
While the seniors had just advanced to the quarterfinals previously, the win was huge for everyone.
“I’m so excited to go to the finals,” said sophomore Scott Ball. “It’s one of my goals to win a title and now I have a chance for a ring.”
The Wolfpack (20-1) had yet to give up a goal in the state tournament, so it was huge when they jumped out on top of the Panthers (18-2-2) on a James Toombs goal at 34:28 of the first half.
Reed Norton sucked three defenders down to the left side of the goal and he was able to make the cross to Toombs, who had to beat one defender for the score.
The Panthers entered the game ranked No. 3 in Class AAAA, one spot ahead of the Wolfpack.
Starr’s Mill started to play in the Wolfpack’s end near the 30-minute mark of the second half.
That didn’t translate to many chances, though, as the Wolfpack defense did a good job of insulating goalie Zack Maxwell.
Midway through the second half, the Panthers’ Justin Ross got deep on the left side, but Maxwell cut down the angle and handled the shot for one of his eight saves.
“Really, most of it is the guys on the defense,” said Maxwell, deflecting credit for his play.
The Wolfpack all but put it away with just over 11 minutes to play.
Ball crossed the ball from the right sideline to the left half of the field to Norton who then blasted in the clincher.