CORTLAND _ A second half that started so successfully for Cooperstown's boys ended with disappointment as bitter as the frosty night air.
The Redskins rallied from a one down at halftime on goals by Quinn Snyder and Jake Chase early in the second half but couldn't hang on, losing, 3-2, Saturday to Faith Heritage in the Section Three Class C soccer final.
Andrew Loucy scored twice, including the winner with 13 minutes, 21 seconds remaining, as the second-seeded Saints ended top-seeded Cooperstown's season for the second consecutive year.
"They did some nice things, but I think we did more nice things," said Cooperstown coach Frank Miosek, whose team had an 18-13 advantage in shots. "I'm not trying to be partial, but I think it was one of our better games."
Winter clothing was the choice for most of the spectators, who watched teams of contrasting styles zip up and down the artificial turf at Cortland State. Cooperstown's offensive opportunities came after a buildup from the midfield. Most of Faith Heritage's chances came in transition.
The Saints (15-2-1), who'll will play Section Four champion Marathon in a state quarterfinal this Saturday, took a 1-0 lead on Josh Allen's goal 17:47 into play.
The Redskins (17-3-1) tied it on a perfectly placed corner kick by Jake Chase. From the right corner, Chase's cross to the middle of the box found the head of Quinn Snyder 12 yards out. Snyder scored inside the left post 1:22 into the second half to make it 1-1.
Three minutes later, Chase scored the go-ahead goal. From the top of the box, Chris Gulotta chipped a throughball to the right side of the box. Chase ran onto it and, from a tough angle, volleyed the ball over Faith Heritage goalie Paul Jackson and inside the left post.
"In the second half, we came out like gangbusters," said Miosek, whose team was denied a chance to win its first sectional title since 1991. "We had opportunities and we knocked two in. They came back. They're not a team to be denied."
Loucy, who scored all three goals in the Saints' 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Cooperstown in a sectional semifinal last year, tied the score with 31:21 left. Loucy brought the ball down the right sideline before taking a 25-yard pass that wound up in the net. The high shot went over Cooperstown goalie Nick Summers and settled into the left-corner of the net.
"I tried to beat the guy and honestly, I was trying to cross it and as soon as it left my foot, I said, Hey, that might go in,'" Loucy said. "It caught the keeper off guard. I said, Hey, we'll take it.'"
The speedy Gulotta gave Cooperstown an excellent chance to re-gain the lead with 29 1/2 minutes left. He dribbled into the left side of the box with a defender on his side and only Jackson in front of him. Gulotta slipped a bit as he shot, and the ball trickled toward the right post. Several Cooperstown players had chances to knock the ball into the goal, but none were successful.
"I thought that was going to go in," said Gulotta, a senior who led Cooperstown with 19 goals this season.
Added Miosek: "Chris fell down on the rebound, we lost our footing, three guys swing and miss. It was a melee in front of the goal that we didn't capitalize on, but it's a big field and a game of inches when it comes to finishing."
Once again, Gulotta nearly broke the tie with 16 1/2 minutes to go. He took a hard shot from 18 yards that Jackson barely touched. It hit the crossbar and bounded away.
Loucy's winner came about three minutes later. It started with a free kick in Faith Heritage's end. Summers came out to try and grab the long ball but didn't get there. Allen got a head on it at the top of the box and the ball bounced to an uncovered Loucy on the left side the box. He kicked into an open net from 15 yards to make it 3-2.
"It was nuts," Loucy said of the back-and-forth second half. "We were up, 1-0, at halftime and they just came out right away and scored two quick goals. We were like, we have to step it up. We didn't give up."
Two more good chances presented themselves to Cooperstown over the final 10 minutes.
Drew Lierheimer took a 30-yard shot on a free kick, but Jackson dove to his right to make the save with 9:40 left. Then with 2:45 to play, an unmarked Ryan Huggins took a 15-yard shot from the middle of the box that went over the goal.
"We were perplexed," Saints coach Clay Auwarter said. "We did not get out of this one easily. It was not an easy last 10-15 minutes after we scored."
Faith Heritage 3, Cooperstown 2
SECTION THREE CLASS C
Championship at Cortland State
Faith Heritage 1 2 _ 3
Cooperstown 0 2 _ 2
2-Faith Heritage (15-2-1): Andrew Loucy 2-0, Josh Allen 1-1.
1-Cooperstown (17-3-1): Quinn Snyder 1-0, Jake Chase 1-1, Chris Gulotta 0-1.
Shots-corner kicks: F 13-0; C 18-3.
Goalies: Paul Jackson (F) 7; Nick Summers (C) 5.
Rob Centorani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 209.