Posted: 10:34 pm Friday, May 16th, 2014
By Stan Awtrey
Top-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian got a pair of goals from senior Ryan Marcano and completed a perfect season with a 3-0 win over Westminster in the AA boys final Emory.
The Spartans (23-0) scored 2:30 into the game when Nash Wagdon dropped a long kick over the defense and onto the foot of Marcano, who beat keeper Benton Wood for the goal.
GAC scored again with 12:29 remaining when Kelly Jones stepped past the defense and put one in the far side of the net. Marcano added the insurance when he scored again with 7:04 remaining.
“We knew we had to get one early,” Marcano said.
GAC coach Thom Jacquet said, “They’re very tough. It was good to get the early goal. We knew what they were going to do and thought we could handle it.”
Westminster (13-5-4) had several scoring chances late in the first half, but GAC keeper Marius Heislitz was able to come up with key saves. The Wildcats continued to be the aggressor in the second half but were never able to capitalize.
It marked the third time GAC had beaten Region 6-AA rival Westminster this year. The Spartans won 4-0 on March 25 and 5-1 on April 21. It ended a streak of three consecutive titles for the Wildcats and gave GAC its first title since 2009.
The victory was especially sweet for the GAC seniors who reached the championship game as freshmen, only to lose to Westminster.
“To win as seniors and beat them three times means so much,” said Heislitz, who allowed just 13 goals and posted 12 shutouts this season.
The win may also qualify the team as the greatest in GAC history. Jacquet, who has now won four state championships, admitted so much after the game.
“We’ve had some great teams here, but we’ve never had one go undefeated,” Jacquet said. “So I’d say they’re our greatest team.”