IRMO — Riverside would not be denied.
The Warriors struck early and commanded the AAAAA state championship game. With a swift kick from the right side of the field, Keagan Price sent a shot packing into the back of the net and gave Riverside a 1-0 lead in the early stages. That goal became a deficit that Chapin couldn't overcome.
"We like to come out and score first," said Riverside coach Scott Columbia.
That’s probably a good thing – the Warriors tacked on a second goal in the opening minutes of the second half, too, as the pair of early goals allowed them to top Chapin 2-1 for the state title.
For the second year in a row, Riverside has won the Class AAAAA boys soccer championship, and for the 14th time in the program's history the Warriors have won it all.
"To end my high school career (on this)," said Riverside senior captain Jack Wagoner. "I couldn't have asked for anything better."
Saturday’s win capped a strong season for Riverside as the Warriors finished 22-1.
Championship Results: South Carolina high school soccer state championship schedule, scores
"We’ve been building for three years," Columbia said. "The kids back then brought in the culture and we started building and building … last year we graduated 12 seniors and then this year we rebuilt, we reloaded and the kids stepped up and did a fantastic job."
Early lead helps Riverside prevail
The early goal from Price set the tone.
"Last year, the same thing happened, we scored (about) three minutes in," Riverside senior captain Alec Myers said. "It was a big plus for us. This year, again, us scoring (early) was a big thing."
After the Warriors scored the opening goal, Chapin had a header by Foster Smith waved off due to a push-off in the box. That shot was one of Chapin’s only chances to even the score in the first half.
Chapin scored in the first 10 minutes of the second half as Thomas Holstein rocketed a shot toward the net from the top of the box. That attempt came with the Eagles trailing 2-0 after Riverside junior Andres Moreno kicked in a shot in the opening minutes of the second half.
Moreno’s goal provided insurance and inevitably a win – despite Chapin cutting it to 2-1 after Holstein’s goal.
"It means the world, man," Myers said when asked how he felt about the win. “Shoutout to Chapin though, (that’s) probably one of the best games we’ve all year against someone. I’m lost for words right now … I just want to go get on the bus and have fun with my friends for the last time."
Wagoner returns from injury to help title push
Wagoner, who is headed to play at Penn, returned from injury late this season. A senior captain playing defense, he eventually became a major part of the Warrior title run.
"Jack has been there all season long," Columbia said, "as part of the team and leading from the sidelines as a captain … it was huge when he came back."
"It’s been tough," Wagoner, who had multiple defensive plays Saturday night, said. "I just came and helped out a little bit."
Joe Dandron covers high school sports for The Greenville News. Contact him at jdandron@Greenvillenews.com and follow him on Twitter: @JoeMDandron.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Riverside boys soccer defeats Chapin for AAAAA state championship