ONEONTA — Morris senior Matt Morlock waited a long time for a goal against Cherry Valley-Springfield.
“I’ve been waiting four years for this,” he said. “Since I came up to varsity in ninth grade, we’ve never beaten them. We have never even scored against them until today.”
Mustangs midfielder Morlock changed everything with just under four minutes left in the Tri-Valley League boys soccer championship game Saturday at the Wright National Soccer Campus.
His direct kick from just outside the box on the left side missed its intended target and instead blew toward the Patriots goal. The ball hit CV-S goalie Jon French, the far post and the back of the net to give Morris a 1-0 upset over the East Division and defending Section Four Class D champions.
“I was trying to go over the wall, to Mike DeLuca for a header on the far side,” Morlock said. “The wind played in my favor. It dropped the ball high over the far post and into the goal.”
Levi Decker set up the winning goal by drawing a foul during a breakaway down the left side of the field. Morlock followed with a goal that stood up over the final three minutes, giving the West Division champion Mustangs their first outright league championship while handing CV-S its first loss of the season.
“Jon said he had his hands on the ball until one of our midfielders bumped into him and knocked it out,” CV-S coach Terri Adams said of French, who has allowed four goals during the Patriots’ 15-1 season. “We didn’t finish today. We had a lot of opportunities, but we just didn’t finish and they were able to sneak one through on us.”
Morris coach Dave Sander said his team went with a different defensive strategy for its second game against CV-S this season.
“The first game of the season, they just mopped us up,” Sander said of the Mustangs’ 2-0 loss Sept. 9. “It was 2-0, but it could have been a lot worse.
“Today we had a different game plan,” he continued. “We made sure we were marking up on their players and denying them the first pass. We did a lot less chasing of the ball and a lot more winning the ball. I think the first game, we played it mostly in our end. This time, we played it all over the field.”
Adams said the Patriots, who played Morris to a scoreless tie in the 2011 crossover, stopped themselves.
“We just didn’t finish,” she said. “It was a good game. I feel like we outplayed them in the first half. We had our chances. We just have to learn from it, go play our game and go finish.”
French finished with six saves and counterpart Kerry Smith had seven. The rest of the statistics were nearly even, too. CV-S had eight shots and four corner kicks compared to six and two, respectively, for the Mustangs.
The two could meet again Thursday, which marks the quarterfinal round of the Section Four Class D Tournament.
Third-seeded CV-S starts the tournament with a first-round home game against No. 14 Schenevus (6-7) on Tuesday, when sixth-seeded Morris (12-3-1) hosts No. 11 Laurens (7-5). Tuesday’s winners will go head-to-head Thursday.
“We’re not going to do anything different,” Adams said of her strategy for the postseason. “We’re going to go out and play our game.”