MACON, Ga. - Westminster soccer coach Mike Freace didn't tell his team about Stratford's goalkeeping situation.
Stratford lost three goalkeepers to injuries in a span of two days last week and entered Thursday's GISA Class AAA semifinals match with senior Will Burton at keeper.
Burton wasn't even on the team until Monday and he hadn't played soccer in two years.
"I didn't want them to change their attack," Freace said. "I didn't want them to press."
The top-ranked Wildcats (17-2-2) didn't change anything, getting a hat trick from GISA's leading scorer Julian Allgeier to beat Stratford, 3-1, and advance to their second championship game in three years.
Allgeier scored two goals in the first seven minutes of the match to stun the Eagles.
"We did a great job early on," Freace said. "But we sagged after we got up. Maybe we got too comfortable. I thought they outplayed us for a while."
The Eagles controlled the pace of the game for the rest of the way, drawing within a goal with 16 minutes to play.
But Allgeier responded four minutes later to put the game away.
"It was too big of a hole to start with, especially against a team as good as Westminster," Stratford coach Mike White said. "We dominated the game at times, but we got behind early and couldn't get out of it."
Stratford's biggest concern was goalkeeping after it lost John Lyons, David O'Shaunghnessey and Bo Stroup to injuries in a span of two days last week.
But Burton, who had never started a varsity game, played as good as anybody could have imagined.
He made three diving saves, and got a hand on the header by Allgeier that gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
"He played great tonight," senior captain Mitchell Etheridge said. "It was pretty amazing for his first game in two years. We're very thankful that he came out and played when we needed some help."
Westminster's boys soccer team will play Mount de Sales for the GISA Class AAA state title at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
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