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RHS soccer boys advance in postseason, girls’ season comes to end

For the first time in program history, the Russellville Golden Tigers are headed to the final four in boys’ soccer.

RHS (18-0) advanced to the Class 4A-5A semifinals against Crossville, which will be held at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park May 6, after play-off wins over St. John Paul II at home by an 8-2 score in round two and a 5-1 victory at Madison Academy in the quarterfinals.

Russellville hosted St. John Paul II April 27 in both boys’ and girls’ play-off action. The RHS girls’ successful season of firsts came to an end with a 3-0 loss to the Lady Falcons.

In the boys’ match against JPII, Russellville got four goals from Orlando Jimenez and two each from Juan Cano and Jonathan Salgado.

Goalkeeper Daniel Martinez kept the Falcons off the scoreboard in the first half, with RHS leading at the break 6-0.

The two St. John Paul II goals came about halfway through the second half, almost seven minutes apart.

“These guys love this game. They eat, breathe and sleep this game,” said Russellville head coach Trey Stanford. “The crowd was unbelievable. It’s probably one of the bigger crowds we’ve had since our first year and our first match. It was rocking, and they were fired up, and our kids were fired up.”

In the girls’ match, Russellville goalkeeper Jayna Poss and her teammates kept the Lady Falcons scoreless in the first half. Poss had numerous saves in the opening 40 minutes, and the two teams battled closely for possession time in the half.

With 36:44 remaining in the contest, Alyna Brininger scored the first of her two goals to put JPII up 1-0. Her second goal of the match came on a header off a corner kick with 19:27 remaining. Finally, with 8:40 on the clock, Grace Fennimore scored the final goal of the evening.

“They made a great improvement from their first year,” said Russellville coach Fred Ambrosio of his Lady Golden Tigers. “We made history, and I’m very proud of them. We lose two seniors, and we’ll come back next year harder and stronger.”

May 1 the Russellville boys went to Madison Academy to take on the Mustangs with a trip to the final four on the line. The Golden Tigers got pressure on their opponent with 18 shots on goal.

Jimenez kept his outstanding play going with two goals in the match for RHS. Juan Cano added a goal and an assist, and Brayan Sop did the same.

Daniel Juan Francisco added the other goal for Russellville, and Martinez had four saves in the winning effort.