Doug Borgel has grown accustomed to witnessing set scoring pieces work in his team’s favor all season.
So when the Bishop Gorman boys soccer coach needed a spark to ignite a stagnant attack in Saturday’s Division I state final, he turned to old reliable.
Rian McEvoy headed a throw in from the near post into the center of the box, and teammate Austin Moore ripped a shot just past Green Valley goalkeeper Victor Marquez in the 43rd minute for the lone goal in the Gaels’ 1-0 win at Heritage Park.
The state title is the first for Gorman (14-2-2) since 2007.
“Set pieces, for the four years I’ve been here, have been what we talked about and stressed about the entire time,” Borgel said. “We expected everything we got from Green Valley. They threw everything at us.”
Moore, a senior, said the goal is a testament to the Gaels’ hard work.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Moore said. “This is my dream. This is the only dream I’ve ever had. It feels great to win your senior year. Rian flicked it to me, and I was lucky enough to be in the right place.”
Gorman controlled the ball for most of the second half with a mounting offensive attack, which Borgel said was stressed at halftime.
“They’ve been a really good receptive coaching team,” Borgel said. “What we talked about at the half was the things that worked well in the first half. Getting balls wide, getting balls up to our front-runners quickly and letting them take people on. The one thing we’ve been able to is make adjustment after halftime and win in the second half.”
The best scoring opportunity for Green Valley (14-5-3) came in the waning seconds. Junior midfielder Daniel Valdez fired a last-ditch boot from 35 yards out. The ball trickled off Gorman goalkeeper Thomas Olsen’s fingertips and landed on the top of the net, just above the crossbar.
“Immediately when he shoots it, I thought they did us a favor,” Borgel said. “He catches that, and the game’s over. He doesn’t quite and tips it over the bar. I don’t think he was going to let one in no matter what.”
The senior made two gutsy grabs in the first half on lengthy Green Valley throw-ins, leaping both times to take the ball out of traffic.
“This is the perfect ending,” said Olsen, who had six saves. “Four years and we finally got it.”