Cyclones come up short in state final

COLUMBIA -- A magical late season run ended in disappointment for the Porter-Gaud boys' soccer team as the Cyclones fell 2-1 in the SCISA Class AAA state championship on Saturday night.

Cardinal Newman's Jack Herbkersman broke a 1-1 tie with a goal in the 71st minute of play, giving the Cardinals a second consecutive state championship.

Porter-Gaud's season ended at 21-4-1 under first-year coach Juan Roncancio, who took over the team in mid-March. The Cyclones entered the finals on an eight-game winning streak.

"We have no excuses and nothing to be ashamed of," said Roncancio. "We played a great game today. Some things didn't go our way and we didn't finish as we had hoped, but I am so proud of the character displayed by our players today, and all season. The adversity we faced this season and tonight in this game will help us grow into good men. I'm very proud to be their coach, especially today."

Porter-Gaud had early misfortune, scoring an own goal in the 12th minute of the game. Cardinal Newman's Harrison Lapin and Porter-Gaud's Coleman Smith battled for possession inside the box and the ball went off Smith past keeper Gettys Moore.

"It's unfortunate but these things happen in soccer," said Roncancio. "We picked ourselves back up and played on. I was proud that we were able to battle back and tie the game."

Trailing, 1-0, at the half, the Cyclones tied the game in the ninth minute of the second half when Seth Pinosky bent a corner kick off the hands of Cardinal Newman keeper Mackie Reibold.

The two teams played rather physical throughout the game and the action intensified late. Cardinal Newman scored the decisive goal in the 71st minute on a cross from Harrison Lapin to Max Lapin, who tipped the ball to Herbkersman for the winning score.

"I think the two teams were evenly matched today," said Roncancio. "We had a few chances but so did Cardinal Newman. It was a physical game, not really the style we like to play, but I thought we played as hard as we could. Anyone associated with Porter-Gaud School should be proud."