Spring Fling: USN, Father Ryan advance to D-II soccer championship showdowns

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 1:00am
Donovan Stewart

MURFREESBORO – Cinderella is on its way to the state championship game.

University School of Nashville, the underdog of the Division II-A soccer tournament got a goal in the 10th minute of its contest with defending state champion St. George’s and made it stand for the last 70 minutes to eliminate the Gryphon and kill their dream of repeating.

The win puts the Tigers (10-6-4) into the championship match, noon Thursday against Webb school at Bell Buckle (17-3), a 5-1 winner over King’s Academy in the other semifinal.

USN (10-6-4) scored at the 10-minute mark when sophomore Kareem Gordon split two defenders and blasted a shot toward goalkeeper Christopher Grover.

Grover made the first save but the ball came back to Gibson and his second shot beat Grover for the goal.

USN used a 6-1 loss to St. George’s in last year’s semifinal match as motivation for this season.

“They handled us really well last year,” USN head coach Daniel Gordon said. “The kids have been waiting to play them and they used the game plan perfect.”

USN will make their first state championship game appearance since losing to Memphis University School 2-0 in the Division II final in 2004.

Father Ryan 1, Pope John Paul II 0: Father Ryan earned a chance to defend its Division II-AA state championship but it wasn’t easy.

Senior defender Michael Arnold played hero for the Fighting Irish as he converted a penalty kick in the 72nd minute and gave Father Ryan the 1-0 win.

An earlier meeting this season between the same teams ended in a 0-0 tie.

Father Ryan will face nationally-ranked Christian Brothers in a rematch of last season’s final, which Ryan won 2-1.

Christian Brothers ranked No. 21 by ESPN defeated McCallie 4-1 in the other semifinal.