The Lions defeated Circle Christian 2-0 in the Class 1A, District 4 Final Friday and will host Orangewood Christian in the regional playoffs February 7.
CASSELBERRY When Ashton Baptiste took the job as the head coach for the boys soccer program at Foundation Academy a little over four years ago, he told athletic director David Baginski that — within five years — the Lions would be built into a playoff-caliber program.
As it turned out, he only need four years.
Two days after Foundation Academy defeated International Community School January 31 in the semifinals of the Class 1A, District 4 Tournament — which secured just the second playoff berth in the program's history — the Lions were back on the field at The Geneva School's athletic complex in Casselberry.
This time, it was Circle Christian the Lions were facing in the district final, and after a scoreless first half Nathan Wilkerson converted a goal out of a corner kick set in the match's 65th minute. That goal set the stage for a 2-0 win for Foundation Academy (13-4) — and the program's first-ever district title.
In a game where the Lions took nearly 30 shots on goal, it was a matter of being patient and waiting to break through.
"This has been going on all season — we've been averaging 20-plus shots a game," Baptiste said. "It's just the problem of putting it in the back of the net. But, as long as you keep knocking on the door, eventually it will break down — and that's what happened."
Austin Hipskind scored the Lions' second goal in the 77th minute, sealing the win.
Equally important was the play of Foundation Academy's defense, especially goalkeeper Danny Garcia, who had eight save.
"We knew if we could hold them goal-less for at least the first half, things would get better as the game advanced," Baptiste said.
The Lions last went to the regional playoffs in 2009, but as district runners-up. This time around, they will host a playoff game for the first time — welcoming Orangewood Christian to campus at 3:30 p.m. February 7.
"It's very exciting," Baptiste said. "It's a great group of guys. They're all coachable, they listen and they work hard. We set a goal at the beginning of the season that this is where we wanted to be and this is what we wanted to accomplish. Credit to the boys — they did it."