By Josh Levine
Third seed Lick-Wilmerding High School, behind the game’s only goal from senior forward Dimitri Barton, squeezed out a 1-0 win over second-seeded University on Wednesday at the Crocker Amazon Soccer Fields, to secure a spot in the Bay Counties League West championship game against league powerhouse Marin Academy.
Barton ultimately gave the Tigers (11-4-3) the edge with his goal in the 70th minute, but it was the standout saves of sophomore goalkeeper David Allen that kept the Red Devils (10-6-4) scoreless. Allen had nine saves, including six in the first half.
“Lick simply wanted it more, especially in the second half,” said University head coach Deejae Johnson. “We had a poor second half, and that came from some early injuries and we gambled a little bit more. Our first half went well, but like I said, Lick wanted it more. You could see it in the warm ups.”
In the second half, Allen added three more saves, and the Tigers’ defense managed to hold off the Red Devils, which scored eight goals against Lick in two regular-season meetings.
“Our goal for the game is to always hold possession and to be patient,” said Lick head coach Gavin Birmingham. “At the beginning of the season, we would kick it far down the field and lose a lot of possession. That’s why University and [Marin Academy] destroyed us earlier in the season.”
A last-ditch effort by University fell short, and Lick sealed a bid to take on the Wildcats, which routed fourth-seeded Urban 5-0 in the other semifinal on Wednesday.
Marin Academy scored only one goal in the first half on a penalty kick from Chase Porter, but poured on four more goals in the first 17 minutes of the second half to cruise to victory.
Marin Academy sophomore Dexter Eichhorst scored two of the five goals in a span of two minutes in the second half.
In their two regular-season games, Marin Academy has outscored Lick-Wilmerding 12-0, including a 9-0 drubbing in their first league matchup.
“Our game against MA is definitely winnable,” Birmingham said. “We have a game plan and we were hoping for MA in the final. Our crowd needs to be behind us . . . and when we play nice soccer they are even louder.”
Additional reporting by Jeremy Balan