The Hylton boys soccer team advanced to its fourth Virginia AAA tournament championship game in eight seasons with a 2-0 victory over Kempsville of Virginia Beach today before about 1,000 at Old Dominion.
Senior forwards Jonathan Hooker and Luis Portillo each scored a goal in the second half for the defending state champion.
The top-ranked Woodbridge school, which improved to 21-1-1, was the first team this season to shut out Kempsville (19-2-1), which averaged more than 3 1/2 goals per game.
Hylton will play No. 2 Oakton here Saturday in the championship at 4 p.m. The Cougars, who defeated Midlothian, 2-1 in overtime in the other semifinal, handed Hylton its only defeat earlier this season in penalty kicks.
Bulldogs senior goalkeeper Kevin Larrabee made five saves to earn his 15th shutout of the season.
"Kempsville has a very good offense, but we hung in there," Larrabee said. "Every year defense is the foundation at Hylton. Tonight everybody worked hard and we got a couple good breaks."
Hylton Coach Ken Krieger said his team's ball-possession style of play was as important to the team's victory as the play of his four defenders -- seniors Chris Boots and Alex Murray and juniors Justin Chezem and Nate Pearson. Kempsville Coach Kevin Denson agreed.
"I don't mean to detract from their defense, but I honestly think Hylton's strength is in their midfield and forwards," Denson said. "The difference today was they were a lot more composed."
Three minutes after a scoreless first half, Hooker narrowly missed the goal when he flicked a cross by Pearson with his head. Less than a minute later, he corrected the mistake by flicking junior Keith Williams's throw-in past junior goalkeeper Sean Wheaton.
With Kempsville pressing late in the game, Hylton junior Barry Suber forced a turnover near midfield and sent Hooker racing down the right wing. Hooker calmly dropped the ball back and across the face of the goal to Portillo, who finished the play off in the 73rd minute.
"Our defense played really well tonight," Larrabee said. "Kempsville has a very good offense . . . it feels great to get another shutout."
Hylton (21-1-1)022Kempsville (19-2-1)000
GOALS -- H: Hooker 44th, Portillo 73rd.
ASSISTS -- H: Williams, Hooker, Suber.
SHOTS -- K: 11, H: 9.
SAVES -- H: Larrabee 5; K: Wheaton 4.
CAPTION: Chris Boots (23) and Kempsville's Ted Sibiga go for ball. Hylton is in fourth Virginia AAA title game in eight seasons.