HENRICO, Va. — South Lakes boys’ soccer defender Michael Bush took five paces back from the sideline and stuck the ball under his shirt to assure it was dry. For the past two seasons, the Seahawks have taken advantage of Bush’s long-range throwing ability by turning every inbound pass in their opponent’s half of the field into something resembling a corner kick.
On Saturday night at Hermitage High, Bush had the chance to create a scoring opportunity with the right throw late in the Class 6 championship game. He took a few skips forward and flung the ball, arcing it high into the air. Sophomore defender Merrick Edgerton emerged from the scrum of South Lakes and Madison players in front of the net and redirected the ball home with his head.
With that, the Seahawks would claim the state title — their first in program history — with a 1-0 victory.
“You never really expect to get a clean head on it, but you just go up and hope for the best,” Edgerton said. “Luckily nobody really challenged me, I got my head on it, and it went the right way.”
The final score was a copy of the Region 6D championship game played between the teams a little over a week ago. The Seahawks (22-1-0) knew they had the ability to beat Madison (16-3-2), but they grew frustrated as Saturday’s game stretched on and their scoring chances proved futile. Stout defense kept the teams even until Edgerton’s breakthrough with 15 minutes remaining.
“All year everyone was talking about our scoring,” South Lakes Coach Marty Pfister said. “But the region final? 1-0. Today? 1-0. All year long our back line has been amazing.”
The past two seasons have served as a coming-out party for Pfister’s program. The 2018 squad finished 15-2-2 but was eliminated in the state quarterfinals.
With Bush, midfielder Alex Robles and a few other starters returning for one last run in their senior year, this year’s team set its sights on a title.
“Last year we were obviously disappointed with the way it ended,” Bush said. “But this year’s team definitely understood that we had something special.”