District 2-1A boys soccer final
Lafayette wins title, hosts state playoff
Published: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 12:37 a.m.
MAYO — Lafayette coach Danny Glover did everything he could to get his 11 players' attention as they lightly jogged to the sidelines Friday night for a second-half water break in the District 2-1A championship.
If Glover's animated shouting after falling behind 2-1 to Tallahassee Maclay in front of a home crowd did not properly convey his message to the Hornets, the urgency of his waving arms and bouncing legs did the trick.
For the final 20 minutes against the top-seeded Marauders, who had beaten Lafayette in two previous meetings this season, the No. 2-seeded Hornets needed to run — beginning with their timeout jaunt toward the bench.
“We changed a few things on offense where they were a little weak, and we could jump on them,” Glover said. “I just told them, ‘Hey, keep running. Let's see who can run the hardest the longest.”
With four goals in the next 17 minutes, including two goals and an assist started on breakaways by midfielder Josue Diaz, Lafayette (14-5) answered its coach's call and claimed the district title with a 5-2 win against Maclay (12-8-1).
Though Diaz, a sophomore, stretched the Marauders' defense with long runs throughout the game, he and the Hornets were outshot 17-6 before he tied the game at 2-all in the 57th minute.
“Coach just told me to get them tired and they'll give up on me,” Diaz said. “Hopefully, I'll be able to take it all the way.”
Diaz's penchant for slipping behind defenses finally paid off when he ran down a pass from senior Dylan Greene for an easy one-on-one finish past Maclay keeper Daniel Becker.
One minute later, Diaz again streaked down the sideline before he was fouled inches outside the left corner of the Marauders' penalty box.
On the ensuing free kick, Diaz buried a perfectly placed strike into the top right corner of the goal to supply Lafayette with the official game-winner and a 3-2 lead.
“He's a great competitor, that's going to give him 34 or 35 goals this year,” Glover said. “He just has a nose for the ball and just so fast. … He's a blessing to have. He really makes my job easy.”
However, the Hornets, led by Diaz, weren't done.
With 12 minutes remaining, he delivered a low corner kick to senior forward Nicholas Singletary, who ran unscathed past Maclay's defenders from five yards out for an easy one-touch into the right side of goal.
The goal was Singletary's second of the night after giving his team an early 1-0 lead with a seventh-minute score.
Lafayette tacked on one more insurance goal by junior midfielder Ismael Moreno with three minutes remaining, but Marauders coach Andy Warner could tell his defense had cracked long before its fifth allowed goal.
“After the water break, I think momentum-wise we kind of stepped out against a team like Mayo that's of course very dynamic,” said Warner, who is in his 23rd year with Maclay. “(Diaz) is an exceptionally quick player and stretched us.”
Returning to the playoffs for the fourth straight season, the Hornets will host District 1-1A runner-up Eastpoint Franklin County at 7 p.m. Wednesday.