October 27, 2010
Purple Tigers advance on PKs
It took some extra time and a bit of travel, but the results were well worth it for the Cortland High boys’ soccer team Tuesday evening.
Playing a first-round Section 3 Class A home game at Homer Central’s Butts Field due to their soggy home field being unplayable, the seventh-seeded Purple Tigers advanced with a 4-3 win in penalty kicks after playing No. 10 Fulton to a 1-1 tie through regulation and two 15-minute sudden-death overtime periods.
CHS will now visit No. 2 New Hartford (11-4-1) at 6 p.m. on Thursday in a quarterfinal contest.
The game-ending heroics came in rapid-fire fashion.
The two teams were tied 3-3 after four rounds of PKs when CHS junior goalkeeper Chad Timmons dove to his right to stop a low shot by Fulton senior midfielder Tyler Crandell. That gave Cortland senior forward Colby Reagan a chance to win the game, and he delivered by sending a scorching shot to the lower left corner past a diving Red Raider senior keeper Brandon Sherman, all of the Purple Tiger players then peeling off their jerseys to pile onto their two heroes.
“I pretty much always know where a shooter is going,” Timmons said. “I guess right every time. One more step and I’d have had a couple more. It felt good to make that last save.”
“I just kind of blasted it,” Reagan said of his game-winner. “I was very confident, and knew it was going in. Lower left is where I always put it.”
“You can’t get more exciting than this,” said a thrilled Cortland coach Brian Rozewski, whose team, now officially 8-6-3 with the tie, ended the program’s two-year post-season drought by qualifying this fall. This is the first CHS team to advance in the post-season since 2007 and the first to advance in a home game since 2005.
“I’m proud of the guys,” the CHS coach added. “When Fulton scored to tie the game they kept their heads up, played hard and never gave in. Fulton is a great team, and deserves just as much credit as we do.
“I have confidence in every player. We don’t practice penalty kicks as much as we should but I chose my five and was ready to live and die with those five. Chad has fought hard for us all year and has made some tremendous saves; there’s never any doubt with him in goal.”
Fulton went first in each round, and senior midfielder Corey Crook went wide right with his opening shot. Cortland junior forward P.J. Mahar sent his shot over the bar to end the first round, and then each team made three in a row.
Red Raiders senior defender Mark Bailey and Purple Tigers junior defender Nick Franceschelli both scored to the lower left in the second round, while in the third Fulton junior forward Joe Sutton put a chest-high shot to the right that a diving Timmons almost stopped before Cortland senior midfielder T.J. Bardsley scored to the lower left. Lower left scores by Fulton junior midfielder Ross Maxam and CHS senior midfielder Greg Masler then set the stage for the climactic and deciding fifth round.
“I just feel bad for the kids,” Fulton coach Dave Wilson said quietly after his team had wound up a 7-7-2 campaign. “To lose because a couple of kids, a couple of seniors, miss, that’s something they’ll think about forever. It has to be crushing to them. It’s just unlucky, I guess.”
Not surprisingly, each team scored in regulation while the stiff wind that blew throughout the game was at their backs.
Cortland got the first-half tally, senior defender Jacob Klinger controlling a loose ball in front out of a scramble following a corner kick and putting it up and over Sherman 12:57 into the game for his first-ever varsity goal, senior midfielder Austan DiIorio with an assist.
Fulton equalized with 24:46 left in regulation. Right after he whistled a shot just over the bar from 25 yards out on the left side, Crook controlled the ball at midfield and pounded a shot home from 15 yards out, hitting the top right corner.
Each team had some other good chances, especially with the wind. but it was the Red Raiders who had the best chance and Timmons who saved the day for the Purple Tigers, tipping a shot by Crandell from 35 yards out on the left side just over the bar with 2:10 left in regulation.
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