Dan River's boys soccer team was just one game from reaching the state tournament. But the Wildcats had to get past unbeaten Martinsville to get there, and Wednesday night it wasn't meant to be.
For the first time in three years, Martinsville is back in the VHSL Class 2 state tournament, advancing to states after defeating Dan River 4-1 in the Region 2C tournament semifinals Wednesday at Smith River Sports Complex.
The win not only helps the Bulldogs advance to states, it also preserved their undefeated record. Martinsville will play in Thursday's region championship game with a 19-0-2 record.
Wednesday's win was anything but easy for the Bulldogs, especially in the first half. The two teams played just under 10 minutes before lightning in the area forced a delay of more than a hour.
The Bulldogs came out of the delay and wasted no time getting on the board. Khalil Travis scored on an assist by Reese Bell to open the scoring. Just before the half, Dan River knotted the score on an assist by Luke White who found Ethan Lewis in front of the goal. Lewis put up a header that bounced over the outstretched hands of Martinsville keeper Michael Devora.
Both teams battled the 1-1 tie for 16 minutes in the second half before Travis struck again, putting in a header off of a corner kick by Isac Flores.
Travis completed his hat trick five minutes later. His third goal was originally called by for an offsides Bulldogs player, but after a meeting between the referees it was determined the original call was wrong, and the goal stood.
Bell put the finishing touches on the scoring for the night, knocking in a shot right in front of the goal with 13 minutes to play.
Dan River finishes the season 12-5-1.