Charlottesville boys soccer’s Kyle Lehnert, usually a defender for the Black Knights, tucked the incredible cross from Campbell Brickhouse in the goal and headed toward the sideline pointing into the crowd of students who’d come out to support the Black Knights in their playoff quest.
“I was pointing at some girls, of course,” Lehnert said. “I’ve got to support my fans.”
Lehnert’s late goal helped seal a 4-0 victory over Bassett in the Class 4, Region D semifinals, securing a spot in the region final and a state tournament berth for the Black Knights for the second straight year.
“Kyle has been phenomenal, he played on the left, he played in the center all during our state run and did a great job,” said Charlottesville coach Stephan Cost. “He’s a great kid, he cares about winning, he cares about the game so I was excited to see him score a goal.”
He wasn’t the only one who got in on the act. Aidan Folger struck first with a goal midway through the first half and Brickhouse got his own tally later in the opening half. By the end of the first, it was still 2-0 in favor of the Black Knights, though they’d just missed a pack of other chances. The Black Knights aggressiveness was a notable change from their clash with Western near the end of the regular season where Charlottesville struggled to create any offense or show the kind of urgency the postseason requires. The Black Knights had that urgency and ruthlessness against Bassett, a product of a roster that’s now almost completely healthy after early season injuries and finding the right mix.
“This was more indicative of us — we have all our players and we’re still just trying to figure out how everybody plays but it’s coming together at the right time,” Cost said.
Senior Amdane Sanda and Lehnert provided the two second half goals to extend the lead to 4-0 and squash any hopes of a Bassett comeback. With Nate Fisher and Herbert Ryan keeping a shutout on the backend, the Black Knights survived.
“We stayed organized, we played together, we shifted when we needed to and we covered each other well,” Lehnert said. “We made some great tackles.”
Charlottesville advances to the region final where they’ll face Blacksburg, who beat Liberty Christian in the other semifinal 3-1 in double overtime. The Bruins are a state soccer powerhouse that recently moved up to Class 4 from Class 3 where they occasionally bedeviled Charlottesville’s Jefferson District rival Western Albemarle.
“Blacksburg is going to be phenomenal competition, they’re the cream of the crop, the top of the top and we’re just going to have to go in there and work hard,” Cost said. “This should be good, I feel confident.”
The Black Knights play Blacksburg Friday at 7 p.m. at Blacksburg.