The Gate City boys soccer team was hoping for a second straight trip to the VHSL Group A Final Four.
Instead, the Blue Devils (18-1-0) suffered their first loss of the season.
Andres Medina had a goal and an assist to lead Galax to a 2-0 win over Gate City in the state quarterfinals at Sugar Hollow Park on Tuesday.
The Maroon Tide (21-1-0) had suffered their first defeat of the season last Friday, a triple-overtime loss to Radford in the Region C final.
Galax was not only looking to rebound from that defeat, but also to avenge last year’s loss to Gate City in the state quarters.
“We had more respect for them this time around,” Medina said. “Gate City is a good team. We knew we had to be ready for a tough battle.”
Medina weaved his way through the Gate City defense and blasted a shot into the goal to give the Tide a 1-0 lead just 17 minutes into the contest.
“Scoring early is a key for us,” said Galax coach Troy Barkley. “Getting that first goal seems to settle us down, so it was important that we get on the board first.”
Despite several good chances, the Tide were unable to penetrate the Blue Devils’ defense for the remainder of the first half.
Gate City started the second half with a sense of urgency. The Blue Devils challenged Galax goalkeeper Mesiel Solis with four early shots on goal. Solis stood his ground and protected his goal well.
The tide shifted back in favor of Galax midway through the second half and Medina sent a ball across the Gate City goalmouth. Teammate Junior Espinoza volleyed it into the net and the Tide had a needed insurance goal.
“We geared our whole season to this game,” Barkley said. “Gate City has an excellent program so this win means a lot.”
Despite the loss, Gate City coach Eric Baker was upbeat.
“We’ve had a good season and I’m proud of our guys,” Baker said. “We just ran into a really good soccer team tonight.”