Titans thrash Generals in first-round playoff matchup
Hosting the No. 25 seed Arrupe Jesuit Generals Friday in New Castle, the No. 8 seed Coal Ridge Titans’ boys soccer team rolled to a 5-2 win in the first round of the 3A state playoff bracket as junior striker Josh Fulk netted a hat trick, while junior midfielder Marcus Amaya added two goals of his own to pace the Titans’ explosive attack on their home field.
Early on the Titans controlled the game as Coal Ridge quickly pushed the pace against the Arrupe Jesuit defense, giving the Titans plenty of corner kicks. Just under nine minutes into the match Amaya received a great feed from senior midfielder Luis Vega and sophomore Gustavo Archilla, slotting home the pass into the upper left 90 of the net, giving the Titans a big 1-0 lead on their home field.
Just a few minutes later Fulk got on the board as Amaya made a great through-ball feed to the speedy attacker. Fulk applied pressure to the Arrupe Jesuit back line, beating what looked like a clear hold from a General defender before outracing the Arrupe Jesuit keeper and slotting home his first shot of the game into an empty net, making it 2-0 Titans early in the first half.
Amaya then finished off his second goal of the game, this time off of a feed from Fulk, who drew the Arrupe Jesuit keeper off of his line, setting up Amaya for a shot at a wide open net, making it 3-0 Titans in what appeared to be a route.
But credit to the Generals, who didn’t quit despite the score as the Titans appeared to ease up. Late in the first half Arrupe Jesuit senior forward Josthyn Noguera fired a long, arching shot towards Coal Ridge junior goalkeeper Adrian Hernandez. The shot just skimmed over Hernandez’s outstretched arm and into the upper right 90 of the net, pulling the Generals to within 3-1 heading into the half.
But in the second half the Titans really took control of the game as Fulk added two goals, including a beautiful strike late in the second half to cap off the 5-2 win and the personal hat trick, setting up a Saturday showdown against No. 24 Jefferson, which upset No. 9 Fulton Valley at Coal Ridge High School. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at ‘The Pasture’ in New Castle.
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