JAMES CITY — There's a flaw in the seeding system for the new Colonial Rivers Conference 25 boys soccer tournament, and York High revealed it. Seeded No. 4, the Falcons rolled to an easy 4-1 win in the conference semifinals over a Park View team that should not have been seeded first.
That designation should've gone to No. 2 Lafayette, a 4-1 winner over No. 6 Poquoson in the other semifinal Tuesday at Wanner Stadium. Poquoson, for its part, had reached the semis by beating No. 3 Colonial Heights.
Park View and Colonial Heights achieved their seeding with points accumulated from wins and ties, but did so against weaker schedules than Bay Rivers District schools Lafayette, Poquoson and York play. Lafayette (12-2-1) and York (9-3-4) overcame that and return to Wanner on Thursday to meet in the final. Both clinched 3A East Region tournament berths with their semifinal wins.
York 4, Park View 1
Park View wasn't the pushover many former Southside District schools traditionally have been against the Bay Rivers. Still the difference between the teams can be summed up in York advantages of 24-8 in shots and 12-2 in corner kicks.
York dominated early, thanks in large part to the energy and creativity of striker Bailey McClure. After pressuring the Dragons' defense often in the first 14 minutes, McClure set up two York goals within 67 seconds.
On the first he made a short cross in the box to a wide-open Max Poelker, who found the back of the net from 25 yards with 26:22 left in the first half. Little more than a minute later, McClure found himself one-on-one with Park View goalie Gianluca Gallina after breaking by the rest of the defense on the dribble.
Gallina had no choice but to foul McClure to prevent a goal, resulting in a York penalty kick. Hunter Strack, who kicked for the York football team during the fall, slotted the penalty into the lower-right corner to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead with 25:15 to go in the half.
But the Park View attack, led by Jonathan Upton and Adrian Guerrero, was more dynamic than usually seen from the Southside. Guerrero pulled the South Hill squad to within 2-1 by dribbling into the heart of the previously impenetrable York defense and blasting into goal from 20 yards.
Moments later, Upton missed equalizing when his shot skidded just across the goal line. Following the brief Park View uprising, McClure stepped to the fore again with a long shot that bounced off of the right post and back into play.
McClure, an outstanding defender from his attacking position, intercepted a pass and scored on the break 15 minutes into the second half. That goal stretched York's lead to 4-1 just 22 seconds after a Cameron Dail shot into the box bounced off of a Park View defender and into the goal.
"I always try to get back and defend to help my team," said McClure, a sophomore. "It feels pretty good to get to regionals, especially because the seniors wanted it bad."
Lafayette 4, Poquoson 1
The Rams advanced to the regional in an entertaining contest that saw them make most of the running, while a solid Poquoson team created dangerous first-half chances when near the Lafayette goal.
Jason Eckenrode scored Lafayette's first two goals: one on an assist from Doron Davis and the second on a pass from Reeves Trott. Trott turned nicely on a ball from 25 yards to give Lafayette a 3-0 lead in the 14th minute.
The Islanders, who had an early goal disallowed for offsides, scored on a classic counter 16 minutes in. Noah Gendron finished the play with a header on the run off of a perfect cross from Dante Ellenwood.
But the Rams, who outshot the Islanders 27-6, continued their assault on the Poquoson goal after halftime. Eckenrode made it 4-1 just 46 seconds into the second half on a long shot assisted by Trott.
YORK 4, PARK VIEW 1
Halftime: 2-1. Goals: York, Poelker, Strack, Dail, McClure; Park View, Guerrero. Assists: York, McClure. Shots: York 24, Park View 8. Corner kicks: York 12, Park View 2. Records: York 9-3-4, Park View 14-4.
LAFAYETTE 4, POQUOSON 1
Halftime: 3-1. Goals: Lafayette, Eckenrode 3, Trott; Poquoson, Gendron. Assists: Lafayette, Trott 2, Davis; Poquoson, Ellenwood. Shots: Lafayette 27, Poquoson 6. Corner kicks: Lafayette 14, Poquoson 1. Records: Lafayette 12-2-1, Poquoson 3-10-2.
O'Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.