Gilboa coach Dan McGlynn said Hunter Grace’s teammates call him “Scrappy.”
That’s because of Grace’s ability to find loose balls around the net and turn them into goals. Grace scored three goals Wednesday to carry the 13th-seeded Wildcats to a 3-2 upset of No. 4 Delhi in a Section Four Class D first-round boys soccer game at Delhi.
“On the first two, they didn’t clear the ball and he was in the right place at the right time, and he put them into the net,” McGlynn said of Grace.
But on the winning goal, Grace used his head. His header inside the near post after receiving a crossing pass from Zak Perry gave Gilboa a 3-2 lead with 36 minutes left.
Now, a 9-7 Gilboa squad that was in danger of missing sectional play will take a four-game winning streak into a Saturday quarterfinal at fifth-seeded Edmeston.
“The kids are coming together and working well together,” McGlynn said of the Wildcats’ late-season run. “They took it upon themselves to turn it around.”
Grace opened the scoring three minutes into play.
The Bulldogs answered with two goals by Mitch Reed to take a 2-1 lead. Reed with 25 minutes left in the first half and again 18 minutes later.
But Grace tied the score at 2, pouncing on a loose ball in the box and scoring from 10 yards 1:20 before halftime.
Reed nearly tied it for Delhi with about 15 minutes left. He took a hard shot from 18 yards, but goalie Philip Berger got just enough of it to keep it out of the goal.
“He made a diving save,” McGlynn said. “He barely got his fingers on it to deflect it. It was probably from 18 yards. It was a good shot and (Berger) made one (heck) of a save on it.”