Shorecrest coach Jeff Diedrich couldn't believe his eyes watching region quarterfinal opponent Evangelical Christian set up its wall late in the game with Chargers senior sweeper Phil Vestergaard standing ready over the ball.
Diedrich, a first-year coach at Shorecrest, witnessed Vestergaard's six free-kick goals throughout the year, one in the first half against Evangelical, and knew how dangerous the captain and team-voted MVP was on set pieces.
"I was amazed after he scored that first one they only put five guys on the wall," he said. "I would have put at least eight. I thought they were crazy."
Vestergaard blasted the ball, skimming it just over the short-handed wall and under the crossbar from 30 yards away to equalize for Shorecrest. Moments later, teammate Stephen Spanos hit the winner, setting up the Chargers' matchup with St. Stephen's (16-2-3) in tonight's region semifinal.
"When Phil gets up there, we think its going in the back of the net," Diedrich said. "We actually get excited when we get a foul within 30 yards of goal because there's a good chance it's going in."
Vestergaard, who has received offers from Division I Davidson, among others, is a multidimensional player for Shorecrest (15-2-2). He is Diedrich's best defender from his sweeper position but moves up in the attack if Shorecrest falls behind.
"He's an amazing all-around player," Diedrich said. "He can play sweeper, center-midfield, forward. The only place I haven't seen him play is in goal, and he probably wouldn't be too bad there because he's pretty tall."
Boys soccer region semifinals
All games tonight at 7.
Class 5A: Jesuit (25-2) at East Lake (12-1-2)
The skinny: With both teams scorching, this game could wind up as the best of the playoff season. Dating to Jan. 10, Jesuit has played seven straight without allowing a goal.
Class 2A: Calvary Christian (16-5-2) at Tampa Prep (23-2-2)
The skinny: Calvary did well to find the net twice in its 7-2 district final loss to Tampa Prep, now it just needs to shut down the Terrapins' high-powered offense. "We're going to have to hold them to no more than three goals," Calvary coach Bryan Hodae said. "Going into overtime and penalty kicks isn't an option for us. We need to beat them in regulation."
Class 2A: St. Stephen's (16-2-3) at Shorecrest Prep (15-2-2)
The skinny: Shorecrest scheduled St. Stephen's for its final regular-season game but had to cancel after making the Bay Conference championship. The teams weren't able to find a makeup date. Shorecrest could reach its first region final with a victory.