HENRICO, Va. — Just before the Madison boys’ soccer team began its trip south to Friday’s Class 6 semifinals, school administrators pulled midfielder Caleb Suh and the rest of team’s seniors off the bus.
The Warhawks’ game had been pushed back because of weather, and the players now had a decision to make: go to the game or attend the school’s graduation ceremony that night. It was no longer possible to do both.
Suh and the rest of his teammates got right back on the bus. A few hours later, the midfielder made sure the trip was worth it when he elevated and headed home a corner kick to give Madison a 2-1 overtime win over defending champion Cosby at Douglas S. Freeman High.
“I tell everybody that [Caleb] is just leadership personified,” Coach Randy Wood said. “He’s got a great head on his shoulders. No pun intended.”
Suh’s goal came with two minutes remaining in what had been a tight extra period. After junior forward Andrew Yin tied the game for Madison with 15 minutes remaining in the first half, the No. 5 Warhawks (16-2-2) and the Titans (16-5) traded blows with few true scoring opportunities.
But Madison, the runner-up in Region D, kept pushing and took advantage of the late corner.
“I’m so proud of this team and this family,” Suh said. “I’m proudest that everybody got back on that bus. No question.”
The Warhawks will get another shot at Region D champion South Lakes after the Seahawks earned a 2-1 win over First Colonial (17-3-1) in the evening’s second semifinal.
South Lakes (21-1-0) won that first matchup, 1-0, on May 31 and showed similar composure Friday.
The Seahawks opened the scoring just before halftime. Junior midfielder Oswualdo Cruz made a dazzling run along the end line and then slipped a ball to the front of the net that senior defender Dirk Stassinos banged home.
“I was just trying to play my heart out,” Cruz said. “For my whole team. This is my family here.”
Sophomore forward Carter Berg doubled the Seahawks’ lead midway through the second half. Berg found space just outside the box and ripped a right-footed shot to the top corner of the net, sending his team’s bench into a frenzy.
First Colonial scored a goal in stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough.
The Seahawks entered Friday’s semifinal coming off a tense win over T.C. Williams in penalty kicks.
“I just told them if we play our game and play hard today we’d win,” Coach Marty Pfister said. “We didn’t do that against T.C. Williams. We got a little lucky there. But you need to get a little lucky to get this far.”