In his senior year, he just missed it.
But the Collins Hill goalkeeper, trying to make it to his fourth state championship game, made up for the goal with two saves in penalty kicks to give the Eagles a 2-1 win over Harrison in the Class AAAAAA boys soccer state semifinals.
Collins Hill (17-5) will play Gwinnett County rival Berkmar for the title. This is the sixth straight time the Eagles will play for the state championship.
The penalty kick saves were just two of four key stops for Taylor. In the first half, he stopped a ball from Harrison’s Cole Guertin with Guertin just feet in front of him.
The second came as time expired on a 1-on-1 drive by Nathan Vickroy to keep the game scoreless into the half.
The early saves helped bolster the Eagles, who opened the game in dominant fashion.
Harrison (17-4) started the game with the ball, but that was the last time the Hoyas touched the ball for the first 30 minutes. Collins Hill quickly took possession and rarely allowed Harrison a chance, with its defense recovering from most possession changes within moments.
In the first 30 minutes, Collins Hill outshot Harrison 5-1, but with nothing to show for it.
Even with the save just before half, the Eagles didn’t find much momentum. The teams played even early in the second half before Paul Ille finally snuck the ball in.
He drove, from right to left and fired the ball from the top of the 18-yard box and into the back corner of the net with his left foot to give Collins Hill a 1-0 lead.
With a one-goal lead, Collins Hill took control. The defense, led by Jonathan Thomas and Freddie Maier, kept Harrison away from taking too many shots. But with six yellow cards issued to Collins Hill, the fouls eventually did their damage.
A yellow card led to a free kick inside the 18, and another foul on the play negated a stop by Taylor and gave Harrison a penalty kick.
Guertin fired left and Taylor guessed correctly, but the ball skipped past him, tying the game 1-1.
The Harrison defense then made a stand, deflecting and stopping three more strikes in regulation and overtime by Ille and setting up the penalty kick finish and Taylor’s game-winning saves.