MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Boyd Buchanan's quest for the Division II-AA boys' soccer championship was helped Wednesday by a valuable old hand and a talented new foot.
As a result, senior Matthew Thomae, sophomore Andrew Pollard and the rest of the Buccaneers have earned one more day at the TSSAA Spring Fling and a shot at adding the second state title in program history.
Thomae, the team's third-year starter in goal, delivered a whirlwind of momentum as he saved a penalty kick a minute into the second half of a 1-0 semifinal win over previously undefeated Webb School of Bell Buckle. Boyd Buchanan (17-2-1) will face Lausanne (15-1-1) at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on Thursday in the title match at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex's Stadium Field.
"To get to play in the state finals means everything to me," said Thomae, who finished with four saves. "This is our third year coming back to the Spring Fling and second straight year going to the finals. As a senior, getting to play one more game with my boys is great. This time we plan on bringing the title home."
An unlikely hero stepped up to deliver the winning goal in the 62nd minute, when Pollard — in just his second match of the season — provided a powerful touch. Pollard did work with a nice pass from his center midfielder, cutting in from the right and zipping a shot into the left half of the net.
"This was my second game of the season because I had to sit out a whole year," said Pollard, who transferred from Ooltewah. "I had to bring something to keep the team going. To score in that moment was the best moment I have had in my soccer career."
Bell Buckle (13-1-2) was led by Hector Larsson's six saves.
Similar to Pollard, Boyd Buchanan defender Asher Keck only recently became eligible to play this postseason after transferring from Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, where he starred in both soccer and football. Keck's physicality proved key in helping keep the ball away from the Bucs' net after Pollard scored.
Senior Mills Wood and junior Phillip Collins were active throughout the match for Boyd Buchanan as the two standouts combined for 12 shots, with five of those on goal. Hutch Healy and Ethan Pirtle also played well for the Bucs, who are coached by Dustin Walker.
Now they'll try to bring back the program's first title since the 2010 team won the Class A/AA crown.
Lausanne, which beat University School of Nashville 1-0 in Wednesday's other semifinal, is in the title game for the first since winning back-to-back DII-A championships in 2017-18.
Spring Fling state soccer on May 24, 2023
Montgomery Bell Academy 0, Baylor 0 (5-4 shootout): Baylor's bid to repeat as state champion ended when the Red Raiders lost a heartbreaker as their postseason ended in a shootout for the third straight time, with each team taking five penalty kicks after 80 minutes of regulation play and two 10-minute periods in overtime ended without a goal for either side.
Senior keeper Zach Ubamadu was phenomenal in goal as he finished with six saves for Baylor (15-4-1), on multiple occasions denying what looked to be a likely score for Nashville's MBA (13-1-1). Phelipe Spielman had five shots and converted a penalty kick for the Red Raiders, along with Mohammed Wumpini, David Mitchell and Gui Gragnano.
MBA will face CPA (11-1-3), a 1-0 winner against Christian Brothers of Memphis, in the title match Thursday.
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org.