Tower Hill bests IR in Div. II boys’ soccer tournament

Tower Hill scored four goals in the first half to defeat top seed Indian River 4-2 in the Division II boys’ soccer state championship on Saturday night at Smyrna High.

An intense wind wreaked havoc on the game. All goals were scored by the team who had the wind at its back, four by the third-seeded Hillers in the first half and two by Indian River in the second.

Tower Hill netted a pair of goals in the opening eight minutes to take control.

Drew Manning had the first goal in the fifth minute. A long goal kick was blown over the top of the Indian River defense, Manning was able to control it and fire it into the net.

The wind had nothing to do with the second goal. Manning fed Malcolm Johnson a nice pass for a one-on-one with the goalie and Johnson calmly slotted his effort into a corner of the goal on the ground.

The next two tallies were both long-range strikes by Tower Hill’s Andrew Cercena.

Cercena first got on the board with a free kick from about 45 yards away from goal. The wind took it over everyone except the Indian River keep who was short-hopped and the ball was able to bounce into the net.

Cercena’s next goal was from even further out. A speculative effort from 50 yards was helped into the top corner of the net by the howling wind.

Indian River had several chances in the second half with the wind finally at its back but Tower Hill keeper Bo Anderson was able to palm a lot of wind-aided shots over the net.

The Indians’ first goal was off a deflection by a Tower Hill defender on a shot which was going wide of the net. It ricocheted in and was ruled an own goal.

Johan de jesus Cordoba netted the second goal for Indian River. He curled a shot from 30 yards away over Anderson and into the top corner.

The Indians had several chances in the game’s final 10 minutes but they were either wide or saved by Anderson.

Indian River was trying to win its third Division II title in the last four seasons.

It was the first boys’ soccer championship for Tower Hill since 1988.

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