FLEMING ISLAND - Oakleaf High center forward Evan Bauman found himself looking at a loose ball in front of the Fleming Island goal and just took a step and fired it into the net to give the Knights' …
FLEMING ISLAND - Oakleaf High center forward Evan Bauman found himself looking at a loose ball in front of the Fleming Island goal and just took a step and fired it into the net to give the Knights' a 2-1 district 3-6A semifinal win over host Fleming Island High School in Monday's soccer playoff action around the county.
"I just saw it there on the grass and just had one thing on my mind; get it in the goal," said Bauman. "We had plenty of opportunities on both sides to win the game and score goals, but we missed and they missed."
With the Knights scoring first in the first half off a breakaway from Keinde May-Parker, both teams showed off their athletic prowess up and down the field with Fleming Island's Hunter Tillman and Lucas Horvath running stride for stride with May-Parker and center forward Drew Ammon to keep the Knights out of striking distance to goalie Peyton French. French was up to the task on his own with two spectacular stops on penalty kicks to keep the score locked at 1-1 after Fleming Island speedster Matthew Male broke free and crushed a left side shot past Oakleaf freshman goalie Collin Lane.
"We have four outstanding freshman that start for us and make big plays," said Oakleaf coach Brett Rountree. "We put Collin in there knowing he had some tactical skills to slow down the Fleming Island attack. He worked the angles in front of the goal like a seasoned veteran."
With the game locked at 1-1 up to the second half water break; near the 13 minutes to go, Ammon set up to take a free shot just inside the 18 yard line and bashed the Fleming Island four-man defensive wall with his shot.
"I think the Fleming Island defense kind of
thought the play was over, but it was live ball and I just kicked it," said Bauman.
Oakleaf advances to the district championship against Ponte Vedra on Wed., Feb. 1. Ponte Vedra beat Nease 3-1 in the first semifinal.
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