Fort Dorchester edged by Dutch Fork

Fort Dorchester was eliminated from the Class AAAA boys soccer playoffs in the third round Saturday with a 2-1 loss to Dutch Fork.

It was a physical match between a pair of top-10 teams. The Silver Foxes (17-5-1) are ranked ninth in the Class AAAA coaches poll, while the Patriots (14-6) are 10th.

The center official issued four yellow cards and two red cards to Dutch Fork and three yellow cards to Fort Dorchester. One of the key plays was a penalty kick converted by the Silver Foxes.

“This was one of those games where you had to keep fighting until the end,” Dutch Fork coach Todd Woodward said. “Fort Dorchester is a hard-working team, so we came in here just trying to match their intensity because we knew how they were going to go after the ball.”

The Patriots created several scoring opportunities, particularly in the second half. However, the Silver Foxes did a good job defensively and continued to push the ball.

“I didn’t have too many words for the kids after the game other than telling them I’m proud of them and this year I’ve had the most fun I’ve ever had as a coach,” Fort Dorchester coach Chris Jones said. “In sports in general, you can play your hearts out and even dominate the game, but sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. I felt like that was the case today. I think we outplayed them and played to our potential, so I can’t be disappointed.”

Fort Dorchester scored its goal in the seventh minute. Caleb Sandoval passed to Alihan Ozsoylu, who drove to the right post and then landed a shot in the left corner of the net.

Approximately eight minutes later, Dutch Fork answered.

After a Silver Foxes’ shot was swept, Rhett Stevens chased the ball down near the right sideline and sent a booming, curving kick into the left corner of the net to tie the game.

The decisive score was set up with just more than four minutes left in the first half when Fort Dorchester keeper Tiago Dos Santos and a Dutch Fork player both went scrambling for a ball to the left of the goal. Santos dove for the ball and knocked it out of bounds, but hit the other player’s foot during the dive.

Dutch Fork was awarded a penalty kick that Graham Jermstad made for a 2-1 lead.

Dutch Fork advances to face the winner of Saturday’s game between South Aiken and Lexington in the Lower State championship match Tuesday.

The Silver Foxes made some deep playoff runs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but this year marks the furthest the team has advanced in the playoffs the last few years.

“We’ve been on the road against higher seeds every round, so I’m hoping playing that kind of competition is going to pay off for us,” Woodward said.