Fresh from an unprecedented run of regular-season success that included 19 wins and a region championship, River Bluff’s first-year boys soccer team continued to make history in its postseason debut Tuesday at The Swamp.
The fourth-ranked Gators (20-3) thumped Clinton 9-0 in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs to move on to another home date against Greenville on Thursday.
River Bluff is the fourth rookie program to prevail in its state playoff debut, the first in Class 3A. The winning margin matched the record established by St. Joseph’s in its Class A playoff bow in 2011.
“We’ve talked all season about being a team of firsts with the understanding that some of them will be positive and others will be negative,” Gators coach Phil Savitz said.
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“There have been a lot more positives, so kudos to these guys. This is a team that I believe can go deep into the playoffs, and Greenville will be a great test. I can’t wait to see how we do.”
The Gators wasted little time establishing dominance against the overmatched Red Devils, scoring two goals on their first three shots in the opening four minutes.
“There is always an element of doubt when a young team is in the playoffs for the first time, so getting those early goals was huge,” Savitz said. “Clinton dropped a lot of guys back to try and deny attacking space, but we did a great job of combination play and created a lot of quality scoring chances.”
River Bluff finished with a 32-4 edge in shots and had a 9-1 advantage in corner kick opportunities.
Gian Ortega and Connor Deany teamed up on a give-and-go play for the first goal in the second minute. Ortega slipped a pass to Deany on the left side, cut to the box and scored on the return pass. Two minutes later, Justin Salters ripped a rising shot that caught the top of the net from 25 yards out.
Deany finished with two goals and two assists, posting his two goals in a two-minute span in the first half.
The River Bluff scoring parade also featured goals by junior varsity call-ups Logan Platt and McLean Robertson and senior David Enzastiga, who sat out the majority of the season with a knee injury. Platt also had two assists.