Jack Herbkersman’s goal in the 71st minute lifted Cardinal Newman to a 2-1 win over Porter-Gaud in the SCISA Class 3A boys soccer state championship match Saturday at Heathwood Hall.
It was the second straight title and the third in four years for Will Eudy’s Cardinals, who finished with a 17-8-3 record.
“This team has shown a lot of growth since the start of the season, and they showed a lot of resilience today against a team that gave us all we wanted,” said Cardinal Newman coach Will Eudy, who has guided the Cardinals to four titles since taking over the program in 2006.
Herbkersman, who started the game at midfield before switching places up front with Jack Sicker, scored the biggest goal of the season, but the clinching score was a team effort – beginning with Cam Parker’s perfect throw-in up the right sideline from midfield.
The Porter-Gaud defense hesitated for a moment as Parker raced to pick up the ball and sent it into the attacking zone. Harrison Lapin ran the ball down without defensive pressure in the right corner and sent a centering pass to brother Max Lapin in the middle of the box. Max quickly passed it to Herbkersman who was breaking in unmarked from the left side.
“It’s the kind of play that looks great, but doesn’t happen all that often,” Parker said. “It was an awesome way to get the go-ahead goal in the state championship match.”
Harrison Lapin figured in the first Cardinal Newman goal in the 11th minute, though it goes into the books as an own goal.
“I was running down a perfect ball from the midfield by Jack (Herbkersman) and just got a touch on it,” he said. “I was lucky, because it hit off a defender and kept on going into the goal.”
Porter-Gaud pulled even in the 50th minute on a bending corner kick by Seth Pinosky that deflected off the hands of Cardinals keeper Mackie Reibold and into the goal.
The Cyclones didn’t pack it in after Cardinal Newman regained the lead, but failed to convert a great scoring chance with just under three minutes to play. Adam Hekker made a tough run along the end line and hit Corey Umstead in front, 10 yards out with a crisp pass. Umstead’s chip shot, however, sailed over the bar.
“(Porter-Gaud) found some holes, and we were lucky a couple of times, but I think the key for us today was we held out composure from start to finish,” said Eudy.