ROANOKE—Friday’s Class 4 boys soccer semifinal at Roanoke College had all the ingredients of a classic:
- The only two coaches in VHSL with more than 500 career victories.
- The defending Class 4 state champion.
- An undefeated challenger.
The showdown between Blacksburg and Chancellor lived up to its billing and included a stunning finish as Jake Peterson scored on a 35-yard shot in the 77th minute to give the Chargers a 3–2 win at Kerr Stadium.
Blacksburg’s hopes for a 14th state championship and a repeat of the Bruins’ 2018 title disappeared in a flash as Peterson collected a rebound off a corner kick and hammered home the game-winner.
Chancellor (22–0) will play Charlottesville in the final on Saturday.
“It’s hard to repeat,” Blacksburg coach Shelley Blumenthal said after the Bruins finished 19–4. “Everybody’s gunning for you. At the same time, I felt like we were playing better soccer as the year went on.”
It came to an abrupt halt as Peterson scored the final goal with 3:13 left on the clock.
“I was covering back to make sure they didn’t come on a counter,” Peterson said. “They headed it out. I collected it, and hit it. Luckily it got off and found the back of the net.”
The senior midfielder said he thought about one-timing the shot, but he took some extra time to get set in the open field.
“I noticed I had more room than I thought I had,” he said. “Taking two touches was probably going to make it a better shot than just hitting it. It was pretty much coming straight down at me.”
Blacksburg shots were fired at Chancellor goalkeeper Josh Reid from all angles in a scoreless first half as the Bruins outshot the Chargers 12–3.
Reid was like the walrus in the Geico hockey commercial. Nothing could get by the senior.
“He was the difference,” Blumenthal said. “He was outstanding. He made probably four or five saves that were unbelievable.”
Reid was ready for the semifinal despite a regular season that included numerous blowout victories and few shots on goal by Chancellor’s opponents from the Fredericksburg area.
“This is one of the first games I’ve gotten to see any action all year,” he said. “I’m just glad I got a chance to prove myself today.”
Chargers coach Mike Webb, who notched his 500th career win in Tuesday’s quarterfinal, breathed a big sigh of relief after 40 minutes.
“The best thing that happened to us was we got to halftime 0–0,” Webb said. “We were very fortunate. We met our match today.”
Chancellor finally broke the drought in the 45th minute as senior Eli Carr scored his 41st goal of the year, breaking free on the right side and ripping a shot across the goal mouth to the left corner.
“We made a communication mistake on the first goal,” Blumenthal said. “I think one thought one was going to get it. The other thought the other. He put it by them and made a beautiful shot.”
One minute later, Chancellor scored again.
Senior midfielder Andres Correa lined up a direct free kick from 25 yards out on the left side. Mike Kreider raced in to re-direct the ball lightly past Bruins keeper Brady Schott for a 2–0 lead.
As the clock ticked inside 20 minutes, Blacksburg was far from finished.
Sam Dickinson finally solved Reid from in front of the net in the 62nd minute, followed by a header from Sture Forsman that tied the game three minutes later.
Reid suddenly flashed back to the Chargers’ 2018 season-ending semifinal loss.
“I just kept picturing the game last year against Grafton,” the Chancellor keeper said. “We blew a two-nothing lead. I said, ‘I don’t want to go home today. It’s my senior year.’
“At that point, I was thinking overtime.”
Peterson had other ideas as his game-winning shot sailed just under the crossbar.
“It had eyes,” Webb said. “It found a little hole and got in.”
Blacksburg started six seniors, and it was a tough way to end a career.
“It looked like we were going to get the third and get the lead and holder, but soccer’s soccer and anything can happen,” Bruins senior captain Henry Carman said. “They got the goal. It was a well-placed shot.”
Blacksburg and Chancellor are frequently in the same place late in the season.
The Bruins defeated the Chargers in penalty kicks in the state finals in 1993 and 2002, while Chancellor downed Blacksburg in overtime in the 2003 championship game.
“We’ve had a lot of great games,” said Blumenthal, who is the VHSL’s career victories leader with 536.
“I thought we played really, really well in the first half and coming back the last 20 minutes. But you’ve got to put a full game together against an outstanding team like that.”
- Chancellor advances to its sixth state championship game in program. history, and first since 2016 (1–0 loss to Park View). It has not won state final since 2003 (vs. Blacksburg).
- Correa tied Chancellor’s program record with his 50th career assist (2006 graduate David Sanford also has 50).
- Chancellor now is 3–4 all time vs Blacksburg, 3–3 in state playoffs
- Blacksburg has not missed a boys soccer state final since 2012