Salem, VA (June 10, 2017) – No one would have blamed the Riverside Rams if they had just phoned it in today. After a grueling four-overtime semifinal victory less than twenty-four hours before this match began an exhausted team was what they had to offer to the Blacksburg Bruins.
From the start the Bruins looked fresher, but Riverside was poised and steady and smart--and more than ready. Led by center back Justin Logan the defensive unit calmly turned away chances from the hard-charging Blacksburg attack. It wasn't always pretty, but they got the job done consistently.
Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.
Both teams had close calls throughout the game. While Riverside had fewer opportunities they probably had the ones with the most potential including a first half shot that the Bruins' keeper deflected off the crossbar. Still, with just two minutes remaining it looked like the Rams were headed for overtime again.
But, wait, a foul on the Blacksburg defense gave Michale Zhang a free kick just outside the penalty area. The senior placed the ball and then curled a brilliant strike into the lower right corner for a stunning 1-0 lead with time running out. Frantically, the Bruins attacked, but all the Rams had to do was hold on for about ninety seconds. And that they did.
2017 VHSL 3A Boys Soccer Champions? The Riverside Rams.
Yeah, that happened.
Final score: Riverside 1 - Blacksburg 0.