When First Presbyterian Christian Academy hosted the first round of the Georgia Independent Schools Association state soccer tournament Saturday at the St. James Sports Center, there was plenty of drama as FPCA sent the game into overtime.
However, Oak Mountain scored two quick goals in overtime to hand the Highlanders a 4-2 loss.
“We are still pretty sickened by it,” coach Tom Sukaratana said. “I’ve said it before: Whoever makes the mistake first will pay the price. In regulation, we should not have allowed two goals to go in, and in overtime, it was just one of those things where we weren’t ready. ... “We didn’t expect that ball to go in, but sometimes it happens. Whoever scores first in those first 10 minutes most likely will have the upper hand, but I think it was just one of those things where the defense was not ready for that. ... It was a lucky shot and went in.”
The Highlanders trailed Oak Mountain, 2-0, going into the second half when Stanford Graham sent the ball downfield. Oak Mountain was penalized for tripping Rick Gilliard, who scored a goal on a penalty shot.
The Highlanders couldn’t convert on two subsequent opportunities to score. The first was when Clark Sukaratana crossed the ball and Tyler Causer dove headfirst for the goal shot, but the ball lifted just above the goal rim.
The second chance came minutes later on an FPCA corner kick. Sukaratana tried to head the ball in, but again the ball sailed just above the rim.
Later, Sukaratana tapped in a low shot and tied the game, 2-2, before the end of regulation.
“I’m proud of my team ... Ricky Gilliard did the throw in ... and we practice this ... he has a long throw and use that to our advantage …Clark ran forward and got it in,” the coach said.
Highlanders goalkeeper Joshua Kuhns kept Oak Mountain in check for the remainder of regulation with seven saves. Domoniquie Kirkley kicked away two possible goal shots as well.
But in overtime, within a span of two minutes, Oak Mountain drilled a pair of goals for the win.
“It was hard, and I think there is a reason for everything, but it’s hard,” Tom Sukaratana said.
The Highlanders finished 15-7 overall.
The coach said his team already is anxious to prepare for next season. On their insistence, they plan to start conditioning for next season as early as next week.
“All the players want to start early, and we need to improve our speed, and I think we can do that,” he said. “Eighty-five percent of the team is coming back. ... It goes back to chemistry and these kids that are sophomores this year and have been playing together for a few years now.
The coach also is preparing for the girls’ soccer season, which starts in the spring.
2011 FPCA roster
Seniors: Hunter Gillion, Carson Smith, Vaughn Head and Justin Stuart
Juniors: Norihto China, Robert Abrahms, Garrett Thornton and Tommy Cai
Sophomores: Ricky Morrison, Stanford Graham, Ricky Gilliard, Dylan McGarry, Tyler Causer, Clark Sukaratana and Domoniquie Kirkley
Freshmen: C.K. Miclat, Mike Burnett and Joshua Kuhns
Eighth-graders: Juan Sanchez and Jordan Williams