For 100 minutes of scoreless soccer Friday, nothing went George Mason's way, despite dozens of good chances in its Virginia A boys' soccer semifinal against Galax. And after an early miss in the penalty-kick tiebreaker, the Mustangs' fortunes appeared to worsen.
But Galax's potential game-clinching shot went wide, opening the door for George Mason. Junior Mike Chaves made his second penalty kick and another Galax shot went wide to give the Mustangs a thrilling 5-4 victory in penalty kicks at Radford University.
"It's surreal," said George Mason goalkeeper Josiah Larson, who made the fourth of his team's penalty shots. "It was one of those moments where you're in a zone, only focused on what you're doing."
George Mason (17-3-1) attempted 30 shots, including five in overtime, and had 12 corner kicks. Sophomore goalkeeper Edgar Colindres made eight saves for Galax (18-3-1).
George Mason will play Clarke County in Saturday's 3 p.m. final at Radford, a rematch of last year's final (a 1-0 Mustangs' victory). The Eagles advanced with a 3-1 win over James Monroe, getting a goal and an assist from junior Bobby Hobbs.
Hobbs had broken his ankle in last year's semifinal -- also played at Radford, and also against James Monroe.
"I was kind of nervous, a couple of times it was deja vu, when the goalie came out of the box," Hobbs said. "But I knew that I had been playing for a long time and that was kind of a onetime thing, and I just reminded myself."
Clarke County improved to 18-3-1, James Monroe finished its season 16-4-1.
Potomac Falls Can't Hold On
All that remained between Potomac Falls and its first trip to a Virginia AA boys' soccer championship game was 30 seconds. But in those few moments, Blacksburg's Tim Becker found a way to tie the score at 2, heading in a goal. The Bruins would go on to defeat the Panthers, 5-4, in penalty kicks, bringing a bitter close to the Potomac Falls season.
The fourth-ranked Panthers (21-2-1) dominated the game in the second half and seemed on their way to a 2-1 victory after freshman forward Uche Onyeador scored with 13 minutes to play. But even though Potomac Falls had the better of the play, the Bruins (15-2) were able to come through at the last minute.
"We played as good as we could play, we just got some bad breaks," Panthers Coach Dave Gryder said.
Blacksburg, winner of seven AA state titles, will take on Tabb in Saturday's 3 p.m. final.