Coach Savitz opens final season with another Capital City Cup title

By Thomas Grant Jr.

The final season for legendary boys soccer coach Phil Savitz opened with another Capital City Cup title for River Bluff.

Gold Division MVP Connor Watchinski

The Gators defeated Chapin 2-1 Sunday at Gray Collegiate Academy to claim the Gold Division of the 4-day tournament. It was the third title won at the event by River Bluff, which went 5-0 with victories over Andrew Jackson (5-1), Carolina Forest (3-0), Wando (1-0) and Blythewood (7-1).

“They’re resilient, they are competitive and they like each other and they play for each other,” said Savitz, who plans to retire after this season. “And those are qualities that any coach will tell you that makes it fun to be around now and to coach them. I think they’ve got a high ceiling to keep working like they’re working and improving every day and I think this team has a very high ceiling.”

After a scoreless first half, Carlos Gartung scored two minutes into the second half to put the Gators on the board. The Eagles capitalized off a penalty at the 50-minute mark to tie the game on a Luke Hilton goal.

At the 71-mark mark, junior and Gold Division MVP Connor Watchinski broke free for the game-winning score. Chapin had a final opportunity in the closing minute, but senior goalkeeper Connor Watchinski made the leaping save.

The two Region 4-5A rivals will meet again March 29 in Chapin.

“They’re taking all kinds of notes,” Savitz said. “We’re taking notes mentally and physically. They’ve got video. We’ve got video and we learned a lot about each other today. So, they’ll be tweaks and basic things and I’m sure that they’ve got players that are sore or out. We’ve got players who are sore and out. Next time we meet, it should be a healthier environment than playing…five games in four days like we did.”

River Bluff’s Jack Dunning and Chapin’s Logan Payne

Photos by Thomas Grant Jr.