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Jared Rayo of RHS battles the Pirates for possession.

Russellville soccer teams fall in 5A playoffs to Guntersville

The 2023 AHSAA soccer playoffs featured first and second round matchups between talented teams from Class 5A Area 7 and Area 8. The Russellville boys opened the playoffs as Area 8 champs and the Golden Tigers got a first round win at home over Area 7 runner-up Boaz by a 2-1 final score.

RHS got a first half goal to make the score 1-0 by Yamilson Velasquez after a move with the ball by Eric Jacobo set-up the shot with 14:55 remaining on the clock. The Golden Tigers grew the lead to 2-0 in the second half on a goal by Brian Lara with 6:30 to go in the match.

A Boaz goal with just over a minute left in the contest drew the Pirates to within one but the Golden Tigers held-on to advance to round two. Russellville was helped to victory by goal keeper Miguel Andreas while the Pirates got solid play from keeper Angel Contreras. Boaz ended the season with a record of 15-7.

“We knew going in that it was going to be one of the toughest matches we’ve ever had here during my seven years in the first round,” Russellville head coach Trey Stanford said after the win over Boaz. “We knew that if we could keep our composure and possess the ball like we are capable of doing, we thought that we could pull it out in the end. We just knew it would be a full 80 minutes.

Round two featured a highly anticipated match between two of the top boys’ teams in the state. Russellville went to Guntersville to take on the Wildcats on May 5 and the contest went to penalty kicks after two overtime periods to decide the winner.

Guntersville (23-3-1) took the win by a 4-3 final score to end the season for Russellville. The Golden Tigers finished the 2023 season with a record of 15-3-1. Despite the loss, RHS remains one of the top soccer programs in Alabama after finishing runner-up in the state in 2021 and 2022.

The season continues for Area 7 champion Guntersville. The Wildcats will now advance to Huntsville to play in the 5A semifinals.

The Russellville girls led by first-year head coach Dalany Roberts also had a successful 2023 season. The Lady Golden Tigers finished second in the area and earned a playoff berth.

The RHS girls went to Guntersville (15-5-1) for a first-round match and fell to the Wildcats by a 7-0 final score. Russellville finished the 2023 season with a record of 9-7 and the Golden Tigers were 8-2 in the area.

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