The Daily Star
---- — Staff Report
Believe it or not.
Connor Brown scored with 24 seconds left in regulation and Zach Joseph followed with the winner 38 seconds into overtime as Oneonta High beat Dryden, 2-1, in a Section Four Class B Boys Soccer Tournament semifinal Friday at the Wright National Soccer Campus.
The victory for the defending Section Four champion Yellowjackets (13-2) marked their third straight in overtime, and all three winners came within the first two minutes of the extra period.
OHS won its first Southern Tier Athletic Conference championship since 1985 with a 3-2 overtime defeat of Class AA Corning last Friday. That win followed a 4-3 OT victory over Class AA Vestal in a STAC semifinal on Oct. 17.
Neither of the STAC games had quite the same drama as Friday’s sectional opener for the second-seeded Jackets, though.
“We may have had a late goal to tie it before, but not that late; not in the last minute,” said OHS coach Alex Brannan, who took over the program after Oneonta’s first STAC-championship season in 1985. “I kept saying, ‘C’mon guys, you’ve got to believe we can do this. A minute’s a long time.’ That’s when Paul (Bischoff) got it and sent it forward.”
Brannan said Bischoff played an “incredible pass” from the back to the forward line for Brown, who turned on the ball and beat two defenders before scoring the equalizer.
Brown’s goal offset one by Dryden’s Jacob Czapranski, who beat OHS goalie Zach King (three saves) with 18 minutes, 43 seconds left in the first half for a 1-0 lead.
“That changed the whole momentum of the game,” Brannan said of Brown’s goal. “We were pushing and we were pushing hard. It looked like they were getting tired, so we tried to get more opportunities and shoot on goal. We had to get a shot on goal, and Connor got through and put one on goal.”
Joseph then converted a free kick from more than 35 yards out for the winner as his high serve went through the hands of Dryden goalie Haile Utter (six saves).
“We were playing it in so we could re-direct the shot,” Brannan said. “It was on goal and the goalie came up and it went right through his hands. (Utter) played well the whole game, cutting things off and breaking things up. The kid played great, so it was unfortunate for him that he had to be beaten on a goal like that.”
Joseph’s goal clinched what will be more-or-less a home game for OHS, which will play top-seeded Susquehanna Valley (10-2) for the sectional title Nov. 3 at the Wright National Soccer Campus. SV won an all-STAC semifinal, 4-1, against fifth-seeded Chenango Forks (9-9) on Friday.
Oneonta beat the Sabers, 3-2 in overtime, to win the 2011 sectional crown at the WNSC.
“We’ve got to come and play our ‘A’ game,” Brannan said. “If you don’t in the playoffs, you’re out.”
Third-seeded Dryden, which plays in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference, finished 10-5-1 this season.
SCC 1, Unatego 0, 2OT
Andy Petroski scored the winner with 3:30 left in the second overtime as No. 7 seed Seton Catholic Central (5-7-1) upset second-seeded host Unatego (14-2) in a Section Four Class C quarterfinal.
“This one just slipped away,” said Unatego coach Erik Miller, whose team lost despite a 21-16 advantage in shots.
Petroski scored from 12 yards out on a breakaway, beating Spartans goalie Alex White (14 saves) to the far post.
Seton goalie Connor Ligeikis made 16 saves for the shutout, leading the Saints of the Southern Tier Athletic Conference to a sectional semifinal at No. 3 seed Greene (15-2) on Tuesday. Greene, which beat Unatego in the race for the Midstate Athletic Conference championship this season, topped sixth-seeded Trumansburg of the IAC, 3-1, on Friday.
Unatego will graduate White, midfielders Troy White and Phil Youngs, and key reserves Josh Winchester and Jacob Fabricius, who is a foreign-exchange student.
Cooperstown 2, SV 0
Reigning Daily Star Player of the Year Michael Rowley had a goal and an assist to lead top-seeded Cooperstown (15-2) to a Section Three Class C quarterfinal victory at home.
Rowley opened the scoring with 19:46 left in the first half, converting a serve to the box from fullback Park Summers.
“Rowley had his back to the goal, collected the ball on his chest, faked to his right and spun,” Redskins coach Frank Miosek said. “Then he dropped it to his foot and volleyed it in. That was our second shot of the game. Prior to that, Sauquoit had five good shots on us. They were long shots, but they were hard shots.”
Rowley then set up Steve Schultz for an insurance goal 3:20 into the second half. Rowley controlled the ball near the right corner flag and, with a defender on his back, crossed to the far post. Schultz headed in the serve for a 2-0 lead.
Kevin Frevele made six saves in the shutout for Cooperstown, which will play a semifinal against the winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal between defending sectional champion Tully and Manlius-Pebble Hill. Tully (13-3-1), which beat Cooperstown, 2-1, in overtime in the 2011 sectional final, is the fourth seed and will host No. 5 M-PH (12-5).
Miosek said the sectional semifinal is set for Tuesday at a time and site to be determined.
The Section Three Class C title game is scheduled for Nov. 3.