After battling South to draws in two previous matches this season, the Dimond Lynx dominated the third meeting to beat the Wolverines 3-0 and put themselves one win away from the boys state soccer championship.
Standing between the Lynx and their fifth state title is Colony, last year’s runnerup and a 1-0 winner over Homer in Friday’s other semifinal.
Dimond and Colony will meet at 6 p.m. at AFS. South, the defending state champion, faces Homer in the third-place match at 1:15 p.m.
The win over South was a long time coming, Dimond coach Barat Killian said.
“We’ve had this imaginary glass ceiling over our heads the last couple of years with South,” he said, noting this season’s two ties and last season’s heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to South in the state semifinals.
“It’s frustrating,” Killian said. “So we’ve had this fire burning in our loins for a long time.”
Dimond junior Jack Sedor, the Gatorade Player of the Year, provided the only goal his team needed 14 minutes into the match on a corner kick.
Ben Froehlich and Trask Shamburg added second-half goals, with Froehlich scoring off a cross by Matt Cerveny and Shamburg scoring on a one-timer through traffic, to cement the win.
“The early goal gave us a bit of breathing room,” Killian said. “They have a very strong back line, and it was tough for us to crack.”
South responded to Dimond’s 1-0 lead by moving a couple of midfielders forward, Killian said, giving the Lynx more room to operate.
Goalkeeper Ian Wilber recorded the shutout, his second in two tournament matches. He and the Lynx blanked Juneau 3-0 in Thursday’s first round.
Wilber faced some quality shots from South, Killian said. He had to make a second save on a shot that he bobbled, and he got some help from teammate Tristan Heil, who cleared the ball on a South corner kick headed to the net.
With the win, Dimond is back in the title match for the third time since 2010. The last of the Lynx’ four state championships came in 2012.
Colony is looking for its second state title. The Knights won their first crown in 2000 and has twice had to settle for second place, losing to South last year and in 2005.
Chris Olsen provided the only goal in Colony’s win over Homer, finding the net off a corner kick from Kyle Bolam.
Goalkeeper Sean Haley earned his second shutout of the tournament for the Knights, who nipped Wasilla 1-0 in the opening round.
In consolation-round matches Friday at Eagle River, Service outlasted Wasilla 1-0 in overtime and Juneau edged 2-1.
Anchorage Daily News