As East Hamilton’s Kyle Gallups crossed the ball toward the goal Saturday in the Hurricanes’ Class A/AA sectional soccer matchup against Notre Dame, sophomore Jalen Goddard saw an opportunity to win the game and had a pressing thought.
“I can’t miss this” was the impression he related later.
He didn’t, and his goal in the 108th minute sent the Hurricanes to the state tournament with a 1-0 victory over the Irish at the Redoubt complex.
The trip to Murfreesboro will be the first for the second-year school.
“It’s just phenomenal to be in this position,” Goddard said. “Words just can’t describe it. It’s just an unbelievable feeling to be going to state as a second-year program.”
The evenly matched battle featured a lot of back-and-forth action but only eight shots on goal — five by East Hamilton.
“I said at halftime that we were going to need somebody to bring us a new energy and be a leader,” Hurricanes coach John Millard said, “and of course it ends up being the quietest guy on our team in Kyle.”
Both teams had solid opportunities on goal. Notre Dame’s Justin Gazick had some solid runs, while Daniel Duk and Jaxon McClure created chances for East Hamilton, as did Logan Cornelius — who played the ball to Gallups on the winning play.
Notre Dame goalkeeper Johnny Hoffer suffered an injury during the Region 4-A/AA final against Chattanooga Christian, which pressed freshman Austin Zinnkin into action. Zinnkin filled in nicely with four saves for the Irish (11-5-2).
“I thought it was a pretty even match,” Notre Dame coach Jim Schermerhorn said. “Both teams had chances and opportunities they couldn’t finish, and both teams were starting to get tired.
“They just had an opportunity late and took advantage of it.”
Said Millard: “I’m just so excited for the guys right now. It’s kind of a surreal feeling.”