With a large senior class, McCallie soccer coach Tony Meyers didn't want to see his players turn in their jerseys today. Neither did junior Hunter Brock.
Brock scored two goals as the Blue Tornado rallied from down a goal Friday to advance to the Division II-AA state tournament with a 2-1 quarterfinal victory over visiting Battle Ground Academy. The teams endured a lightning delay that halted the match for 45 minutes late in the first half.
The hosts didn't want their season to end in the quarterfinals, much like it did last season when they fell to rival Baylor. They briefly felt that pressure when BGA's David Todd scored on a Connor Holton corner kick in the 47th minute.
The Tornado started firing shots from all angles, falling into the game plan of BGA coach Rob Mitchell.
"We weren't concerned about them shooting from 20 feet out," he said. "We're a very young team and we were trying to protect where we were vulnerable, which is in the back."
The Wildcats (7-8-1) used their biggest defenders, Daniel Brown and Connor Mitchell, to deny McCallie's attack from the middle. The Tornado countered by playing the edges, which led to Brock's first goal on an assist by Arturo Rocha in the 60th minute.
Two minutes later, Brock scored the go-ahead goal, assisted by Angel Cruz.
"[Last year] was on everybody's mind," Brock said about falling behind. "We weren't going to turn in our jerseys tomorrow. I thought we responded great to the deficit; obviously, when you're down you want to score immediately, and we tried to force the ball down the middle.
"We started to play wide, and that's when we started clicking."
Meyers said the team's experience played a huge factor in the Tornado staying mentally focused.
"These guys have played in a lot of games," he said. "They understand what it takes, and they did a good job of keeping their composure. Rob made the middle inaccessible, and we had to adjust.
"We're going to have our last game eventually, but we want it to be Wednesday or preferably Thursday. We've all worked hard; I've told the guys that this is the fun time of year and it's time to enjoy it."