Laurel fell short two-goals in the boys' soccer program's second-ever semifinal round appearance.

Long Beach beat Laurel, 2-0, in the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs Tuesday night.

"We came a long way from June, July, and August," said Laurel head coach Markel Milsap. "From not believing we could make it this far to now. I am proud of each and every one of our guys.

"Our guys gave it their all. We lost five or six guys [in the offseason] from June, July, and August. But our younger guys stepped up, and our seniors stuck with it. We came up short, but I'm proud of every one of them."

Long Beach challenged Laurel’s defenders and keeper Kaymin Ulmer from the very start with multiple shots and shots-on-goal. The score remained nil-nil till the 35th minute of the first half. A late penalty inside the box resulted in the Bearcat’s first goal.

"Long Beach came out [firing] from the start of the match," said Milsap. "But we knew they would. We knew they would bring high-pressure. They brought pressure to everyone that touched the ball. It gave them an advantage over us. It hit us faster than we knew it.

"Our guys responded to it about 20 minutes into the game, but they played a lot on our half, and our goalie couldn't save all of them."

Late in the second half, in the 76th-minute, Long Beach iced the game at two-nil on a well-struck ball from inside the box.

The win gave Long Beach its third-straight Class 5A South State title.

Laurel finishes the 2019-2020 season, 11-10-4. The Tornadoes entered the playoffs as a No. 2 seed behind West Jones from Region 5-5A.

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