ATLANTA — As the green-and-gold clad fans rushed the field to reach their team and the chants and claps joined up with hugs and tears to create euphoria, Connor Tierney made sure Aquinas got what it earned.
“Let’s get that trophy,” he said twice.
The Aquinas boys soccer team won the GHSA Class A state title, scoring three early goals before hanging on behind world-class keeping from Will Doss to beat Atlanta International School, 3-2, on Friday night. It’s the Fighting Irish’s first state championship since 2005.
Aquinas (17-2-1) might have moved to 4 for 4 in winning one-goal games in the state playoffs, but the last script was a bit different.
After falling behind in the previous two rounds, Aquinas stunningly scored three goals within the first 30 minutes Friday.
Matt Moses was the finisher on the first two, winning a battle for the ball on the first and controlling a long ball from John Morris to deliver a perfect shot for the second.
Marcus Wade’s score looked very similar to Moses’ second, as Wade found the upper 90 for the score.
Though Atlanta International kept action on Aquinas’ side for most of the rest of the game, the lead was never taken away.
Aquinas coach Kevin Trammell was in awe of Doss’ agility – going up fearlessly for punches and grabs on crosses as he made more than a dozen saves. He was beaten once on a corner in the first half, but the Eagles needed a penalty kick to get the second goal with 11:51 remaining.
Atlanta International remained relentless, but Doss never gave up the tying goal. He somehow kept the ball on the right side of the line a few times in the latter half when it seemed like the Eagles had him solved.
“That’s as far as it’s going to go,” Doss said about shots that approached the line.
With a late one-goal lead, Doss said he would look at the clock every 15 seconds, wanting it all to end.
As the final minute ran out, Doss and the Irish got the conclusion they desired.
“This is a dream moment, when it all comes true,” Moses said.