Heading into the boys state soccer tournament, the Dimond Lynx had won all but three of their 15 matches this season. Their record included two draws with South and a nonconference loss to Colony.
The Lynx earned bragging rights over their south-side rival thanks to a 3-0 win in Friday’s semifinals, but Colony stunned Dimond 3-2 in sudden death Saturday at Anchorage Football Stadium to claim supremacy in Alaska prep soccer.
Ben Atkinson was the hero for the Knights. He headed a throw-in from Chaz Stephens past Dimond keeper Ian Wilber to give Colony its first state title since 2000.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Stephens said.
Stephens’ strength effectively turned his throw-in into a corner kick. Deep in Dimond’s end, Stephens launched the ball toward the goal, and Atkinson got position on the Lynx defenders.
“I had to beat everyone to it,” Atkinson said. “It was a surreal moment.”
Defeating a talented Dimond squad is a tremendous accomplishment, Atkinson added.
“It’s monumental,” he said. “They’re a really great team.”
The loss was heartbreaking for Dimond, which last won a state championship in 2012. Coach Barat Killian thought his team controlled possession and had plenty of opportunities to score, making the loss all the more frustrating.
“That’s soccer,” Killian said.
Stephens’ arms led to another goal in extra time, nearly identical to the game-winner. Arty Fonov got his head on the throw-in and put it in the back of the net to give Colony a 2-1 lead midway through the second of two, 10-minute overtime periods.
Colony’s lead — and jubilation — was short lived. Dimond’s Micah Rickard buried a cross-shot in the left side of the net about three minutes later to force sudden death.
Killian credited both Rickard — for scoring under immense pressure — and the rest of the Lynx for rallying with their season on the line.
“It took an incredible amount of resiliency from our boys,” he said.
Dimond opened the match with a quick tally in the first minute when Matt Cerveny slipped a shot inside the right post.
Chris Olsen tied the game when he beat Wilber on a close-range shot about seven minutes into the second half.
Dimond started the first overtime with two prime chances. Perhaps the best came when Trask Shamburg took a feed from Cerveny in the box and hammered a shot on goal, but Colony keeper Sean Haley denied the chance with his hands.
Reach Mike Nesper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
Ben Atkinson, Colony
Austin Richardson, Colony
Sean Haley, Colony
Ben Sandem, Colony
Jack Sedor, Dimond
Brent Quinn, Dimond
Josh An, Dimond
Dylan Nolder, Dimond
Luke Twenhafel, South
Lucas Seymour, South
Max Mangue, Homer
Quinn Daugharty, Homer
John Yoon, Service
Ben Scudder, Juneau
Olav Tchegeowwnfa, West Valley
By MIKE NESPER