Oneonta High’s boys started fast and finished with a flurry to beat Vestal, 4-3, in a Southern Tier Athletic Conference soccer semifinal Wednesday at Lloyd Baker Field.
Ben Gollin scored the Yellowjackets’ second goal 3 minutes, 51 seconds into play and also scored the winner 13 seconds into the first overtime as the Yellowjackets earned a spot opposite of host Corning at 3 p.m. Friday in the STAC final.
Corning won a penalty-kick shoot against Johnson City in the other semifinal after the teams played to a 4-4 tie through regulation and two overtime periods.
OHS (11-2) will be in search of their first STAC title since 1985, when it beat Vestal in the final, according to the website stacshowcase.com.
“Oh, they got on the field fast,” OHS coach Alex Brannan said of his team’s celebration after Gollin’s winner in OT.
Brannan said Vestal won the toss to start overtime but elected to pick the side of the field it wanted rather than take the ball.
“I said, ‘Let’s get down there and get the first shot and get out of here,’” Brannan said of his message to his team before overtime started. “We got down there, took the first shot and it was over.”
The winning sequence started when Zach Joseph played a long ball that Alex Fox chased down in the left corner. Fox beat a Vestal player to the ball and took it to the end line. He then sent a pass into the box that a cutting Gollin controlled about 7 yards on the left side of the box.
Brannan said Gollin took a spinning shot that had the look of a curveball. It settled into the side netting inside the right post.
Goals by Vestal’s Kyle Gardner (with 16:38 left in the second half), Derek Engleman (12:44) and Michael Hasbrouck (4:07) erased a two-goal lead the Yellowjackets built in the game’s first four minutes.
“We sort of dominated the first half, but then they came really strong in the second half,” Brannan said of Vestal squad that beat OHS by 2-1 scores in the 2009 and 2010 STAC finals. “We were pushing to get the third goal and put it away, and got caught. We probably should have sat back more. They made it 2-1 and then we were sort of scrambling.”
But the Yellowjackets responded with 2:43 left in regulation.
A long throw-in by Paul Bischoff found Connor Brown. Brannan said several Golden Bears defenders rushed to Brown, who sent a lateral pass to Zach Joseph. Joseph hit a 30-yard that curled from right-to-left and just beat Vestal goalie Taylor Hines to tie the score.
“When you’re playing a good team and you’re down, 3-2, with four minutes, you’re not supposed to win, but the kids showed great character,” Brannan said.
Brannan said a pair of corner kicks by Joseph helped stake OHS to its early 2-0 lead.
Bischoff finished the first on a header 1:18 into play and Gollin kicked in the second to the near post.
“We had worked on corners the day before in practice,” Brannan said. “They were some set plays I showed them and they worked to perfection.”
Brannan said following the game that some Vestal players shared that Corning plays a physical style of soccer.
“We’re going to find out,” Brannan said if OHS is suited to a physical brand of soccer. “It’ll be different so we’ll see.”
OHS earned the second seed for the Section Four Class B tournament, which starts next Wednesday. Susquehanna Valley is the top seed.
Delhi 1, Walton 0
Russell Cobane scored for Delhi with one second remaining in regulation to lift Delhi to a non-league win versus host Walton.
Cobane’s winner was the result of a scramble in front of the goal. Jake Zinkievich passed it to Cobane, who one-timed it into the net from 6 yards. The low, angled shot went over the hands of Walton goalie Dylan Walley, who had 14 saves.
“I’ve been coaching 12 years. I’ve never seen that before.” Walton coach Andy Gates said of a scoreless tie being broken with one second left.
Delhi goalie Zach Fogle made one save for his fifth straight shutout.
The Bulldogs outshot Walton, 15-1.
Walton’s Abel Clark had the Warriors’ best scoring chance when he hit the post near the midway point of the first half.
“There were two guys there but it rolled right to their goalie.” Gates said.
Walton ends its season at 7-9.
Delhi (10-4-1) earned the ninth seed for the Section Four Class C tournament. It opens on the road Tuesday at No. 8 Odessa-Montour.
UV 3, Sidney 0
Christian Emerson scored on a penalty kick in the first half, and Colin Izard and David Schwab contributed second-half goals as Unadilla Valley won a Midstate Athletic Conference game at home.
Nate Shackelton assisted Schwab’s goal that made it 2-0 and Izard finished a pass from Nate Mackey to cap the scoring.
The Storm wore pink socks in honor of breast cancer awareness on their Senior/Kick for the Cure night.
Milford 1, Schenevus 0
Milford’s Will Ward scored on a header from 10 yards to lift visiting Milford to a Tri-Valley League victory.
The goal came about 10 minutes into the first half.
Both teams will play road games in first round of the Section Four Class D tournament on Tuesday.
Ninth-seeded Milford will face No. 8 Edmeston and 14th-seeded Schenevus will oppose third-seeded Cherry Valley-Springfield.