High School Sports

Boys' soccer: No. 1 Dunbar, No. 2 Trinity win in state semifinals

Dunbar's Riley Calhoon won a header against Waulder Gonzalez (14) of Henderson County during the state semifinals at Dunbar on Wednesday.
Dunbar's Riley Calhoon won a header against Waulder Gonzalez (14) of Henderson County during the state semifinals at Dunbar on Wednesday. Herald-Leader

The favorites reigned in the rain Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Boys' State Soccer Tournament at Dunbar.

Top-ranked Dunbar blanked No. 16 Henderson County 2-0. Then, No. 2 Trinity upended No. 6 Bowling Green 3-0 in wet and windy conditions.

The finals are set for Saturday at 5 p.m.

"We've been looking for Dunbar all year. I know they've been looking for us," Trinity Coach Dale Helfrich said. "I'm just glad for the state of Kentucky high school soccer that it worked out where one and two are playing for the final, like it should be."

Dunbar, which made it to the finals before falling 1-0 to St. Xavier last year, is hungry to take things a step further this time.

"More than anything, that's my dream," Dunbar playmaker forward Nathan Jones said. "I think we're ready and we're going to have two good practices this week and hopefully come out and take the title."

Dunbar 2, Henderson Co. 0: The Bulldogs (25-1-2) made a quick strike in each half and gave up few chances on defense.

The lone goal of the first half came off a corner kick by Dunbar's Nelson Ng about 2½ minutes into the match.

Jean-Samuel Poirier headed the ball and Jacob Stauffer made the stop, but the goalkeeper was a step over the goal line.

Henderson County had its chances, too. Most notably, when a Colonels' corner kick resulted in a header that hit off the crossbar with less than a minute left in the half.

Dunbar took just 3:05 into the second half to make it 2-0.

Riley Calhoon buried a penalty kick after getting tripped in the box.

Jones and pals helped keep pressure on the Colonels.

"I love to get the ball to the other guys and work off of them," Jones said. "And I think with it being wet, a lot of balls went our way and we were able to keep possession and definitely get a few chances on goal. ... I love playing in the rain. I think it makes me faster and I can make little flicks and touches that I wouldn't normally have."

Dunbar's defense did the rest, with Josiah Farley getting the shutout in net.

"I thought the defense did a great job," Coach Todd Bretz said. "They've scored over (100) goals this year and they are so dangerous offensively. For us to get a shutout against a team like that, that means the defense did a really good job."

"All teamwork, I guess," Bulldogs defender Jared Brown said. "Making sure we're talking to each other in the back, covering each other in the back."

The Colonels (18-6-3) came close to scoring a couple more times, but shots by Juan Zamarrippa early in the second half and Alex Farmer with about four minutes left sailed just high.

So now Dunbar is back in the finals, riding a 12-game winning streak.

"I want it more than anything in the world," Brown said. "Last season was so hard, and that's just even more motivation to get it the other way."

Said Bretz: "Got to take one more step. It's great to be there. It's quite an accomplishment. But hopefully we'll come out and we'll play our best game."

Trinity 3, Bowling Green 0: The Shamrocks (21-2-1) led 2-0 at halftime.

Both goals came off of corner kicks.

Sam Stockton headed in a shot with 33:11 left in the half.

"We have a couple plays set up," Stockton said. "We've struggled to capitalize on corners all year, and I think we're happy we got two of them in today."

Then, with 16:01 left, Ryan Payne's corner kick hit off of a Purples defender and caromed into the net for an own goal.

Stockton added some second-half icing with 4:40 left, blasting a shot from straight away.

"I was on the far side and I saw the play kind of developing, so I thought I'd slowly kind of creep into the box," Stockton said. "Then it just popped out, and I just made sure. I had to make it."

Trinity has won 16 matches in a row and is unbeaten in its last 19 (18-0-1).

Bowling Green (21-5) had a five-game winning streak snapped.

Dunbar 2, Henderson County 0

Goals: D: Jean-Samuel Poirier, Riley Calhoon.

Goalkeepers: HC: Jacob Stauffer; D: Josiah Farley.

Records: HC: 18-6-3; D: 25-1-2.

Trinity 3, Bowling Green 0

Goals: T:Sam Stockton 2, own goal.Goalkeepers: T: Eric Goranflo; BG: Ryan Hughes and Jay Cash.

Records: T: 21-2-1; BG: 21-5.

State championship game at Paul Laurence Dunbar

5 p.m. — Dunbar vs. Trinity

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader