State champions crowned at State Soccer Championships

North Alabama soccer programs claim Championships
Five area teams competed and four left victorious.
Published: May. 13, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Five area teams competed for State Soccer Championships at the John Hunt Soccer Complex Saturday, May 13, and four brought home State Titles

Tanner High School’s boys’ soccer program has been climbing a hill toward the school’s first AHSAA state soccer championship for the last decade.

Saturday afternoon at John Hunt Soccer Park, the climb is finally complete.

The last 40 yards up that hill came on one swift kick. Tanner’s Moises Parra scored 27 minutes into the first half on a 40-yard live laser kick that sailed all the way into the goal to give the Rattlers a 1-0 lead. Tanner’s defense did the rest.

The Rattlers downed St. Luke’s Episcopal High School of Mobile 2-0 in the AHSAA Class 1A/3A State Soccer Championship. Tanner, coached by Matt Smith, turned in a dominating effort defensively and scored one goal in each half to get the win.

Parra’s goal stood tall for the rest of the half, and Steven Lopez netted a goal early in the second half booting a 27-yard free kick by Steven Lopez on the rebound into the net.

Tanner goalkeeper Christian Cruz registered five saves to earn the shutout win and the MVP award for Class 1A/3A. He had a diving save in the second half to avert the Wildcats’ best chance of scoring.

Westminster Christian’s AnnaLi Weekley scored four goals in the Wildcats’ semifinal victory over Westbrook Christian Friday in the semifinals of the AHSAA Class 4A Girls’ State Soccer Championships at John Hunt Park.

AnnaLi Weekley (11) sparks Westminster Christian to the school’s first girls’ state soccer...
AnnaLi Weekley (11) sparks Westminster Christian to the school’s first girls’ state soccer title in 2-1 win over St. Michael Catholic(AHSAA Photos / MARVIN GENTRY)

In Saturday’s finals versus St. Michael Catholic, she stood at the line after 90 minutes of play without a single goal. Both teams finished regulation tied 1-1 and were held scoreless in the two five-minute OT periods. The shootout was a different matter. First, Westminster goalkeeper Piper Blazier made a valiant save on the Cardinals’ first try in the shootout. Weekley left no doubt, however, drilling her kick into the back of the for a 1-0 in the best 3-of-5 penalty kick format.

Westminster’s Shelby Lane and Jasmine Feld made their kicks, and Blazier blocked another St. Michael’s try as the Wildcats (15-4-1) emerged as the state champions. Weekley earned MVP of the Class 4A state tourney for her efforts. Feld scored the first goal of the match for Westminster, coached by Hunter Chapman, with a goal at 19:33 in the first half. That goal looked like it would be enough.

Fort Payne High School’s Wildcats battled from behind three times in Saturday’s AHSAA Class 6A Boys’ soccer championship match and emerged with a 4-3 win over Montgomery Academy at John Hunt Soccer Complex.

A big reason was junior forward Cristian Barrientos, who finished with three goals and the hat trick to earn Class 6A MVP honors. Each of his goals came at a clutch time. Montgomery Academy (21-3-1) took a quick 1-0 lead thanks to a goal by Win Perry eight minutes into the match. Barrientos made it 1-1 seven minutes later with a goal set up by an assist from Chris Rocha Luna. The Eagles, coached by Matheus Mello, a minute later on a free kick by Brewer Welch from 28 yards out. It took just six minutes for Barrientos to tie the match again with his second goal – also set up by a Rocha Luna assist.

Fort Payne’s Cristian Barrientos (10) celebrates completing the hat track with teammates...
Fort Payne’s Cristian Barrientos (10) celebrates completing the hat track with teammates following his third goal in the Wildcats’ 4-3 victory over Montgomery Academy in the 6A finals(AHSAA Photos / MARVIN GENTRY)

Montgomery Academy took a 3-2 lead in at halftime with a goal by Lucas Rizzo coming on another free kick from 22 yards out. The Wildcats (26-2-2), coached by Michael Farmer, tied the match seven minutes into the second half on a kick by Rafael Robles set up by Barrientos’ assist. Barrientos gave Fort Payne the lead at the 58:19 mark to complete his hat trick, and the Wildcats’ defense shut out the Eagles the rest of the way.

The state title was the third overall for Fort Payne, which won state titles in 2011 and 2015.

The Sparkman Senators Girl’s soccer team became the first Madison County High School to win a State Soccer crown defeating Auburn 2-1. Jayda Davis was named the Tournament MVP after scoring the go-ahead goal by a penalty kick to win the 7A Championship.

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