GOOSE CREEK — No official. No problem.
One of the three officials for Tuesday night’s Class AAAA boys soccer playoff match was late, forcing the Summerville-Stratford game to be delayed for more than a half hour, but the Knights were more than ready once it started.
Stratford scored four first-half goals and cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Green Wave at Stackley Field.
“That first half was our best 40 minutes of the season,” Stratford coach Alister Delong said. “To take a 4-0 lead early like that was huge.”
The Knights, the No. 2 seed in the Lower State bracket, might have expected a tougher fight from the Green Wave. Last week, Summerville put up a tough fight against the Knights before falling, 3-1.
But on Tuesday, it was too much red, black and silver.
Stratford (15-6) will play South Aiken, an 8-0 winner over Richland Northeast, on Thursday. No. 3 seed Summerville finished with a 9-9-1 record.
Tristan Ray led the charge with a hat trick. He drilled his first goal from 25 yards out and the Knights never looked back. He scored the second goal, too, from inside the 18-yard box.
“To hit the ball like that, that first kick, it was perfect,” Delong said. “This kid is amazing. He helped us get that big lead and everybody played, which was good. The field conditions weren’t that ideal, though.”
Defender Reid Short added the third goal of the half and Johnnie Lynch scored the fourth goal of the half.
Ray scored the only goal of the second half
Stratford keeper Justin Overstreet, a North-South selection, was outstanding in defense, recording more than a dozen saves.
“He’s been with us since the seventh grade,” Delong said of Overstreet. “We knew he was going to be special, and he has been. That was his 13th or 14th shutout of the season in 21 games, so he’s come up big for us.”