Editor’s Note: Our original story from this game indicated that Annastasha Dornburgh received a red card and was ejected. The player ejected was actually Grace Field. We apologize for the error.
Verona – Saturday’s NYSPHSAA Class B girls soccer regional game was a classic case of defense being the best offense and Holland Patent parlayed that into a 3-2 win in the first sudden victory overtime period.
Coach Josh Olney’s Golden Knights twice rallied from a one-goal deficit against Section II champ Academy of the Holy Names. The second score came courtesy of sweeper Sara Rachon’s penalty kick with 17:52 to play in regulation.
The third goal came after two overtime periods, when senior defender Mayle Lupia-Eannace scored just 1:16 into the first sudden victory period. Lupia-Eannace’s goal vaults Holland Patent (20-1-1) into the NYSPHSAA state semifinals against Section VI champion Allegany-Limestone, at 12:30 p.m. next Saturday at Cortland High School.
“We knew Holy Names (19-2) was a very good team with numbers six (Ava Panto) and 10 (Megan Marini) very good strikers. (Panto) really stretched our defense.”
Panto did score the second of AHN’s goals and helped set up its first, but HP withstood her speed as the game went on and took advantage of being a man up in all three OT periods to prevail.
“I’m so proud of these girls,” Olney said.
The game started with teams trading shots for the first 17 minutes. Only Panto had one that was tough to stop, but goalie Haedyn Roberts did just that for HP in the 15th minute.
AHN showed slightly better passing and dribbling as the half wore on then used that edge to set up the half’s only goal. Panto had a great cross from the right side and Elizabeth Harris touched it to freshman Riley Taylor in the 35th minute.
Taylor scored from just inside the box and it stayed 1-0 in AHN’s favor until a failed clear set up Alexis Johnson for HP’s first goal. That came with 26:59 to play in regulation, but HP’s joy was short-lived. Marini made a great move to get a pass to Panto who scored just 68 seconds after Johnson. Panto, a junior, made a nice move to get past Roberts and touched it in the open goal.
Panto almost made it a 3-1 lead less than a minute later. Roberts was able to get to a through ball just before her and that kept the game within reach for HP.
The Section III champs tied it when a handball during a corner kick set up sweeper Sara Rachon to take a penalty kick. The junior made it with a perfect shot to the left then things got heated for awhile.
First, a fan was ejected for arguing an official’s call then AHN picked up the second of its six yellow cards. When AHN’ Grace Field picked up a questionable yellow card with six seconds left in regulation, things went from bad to worse for AHN. Field was given a red card when she was at the team bench, much to the dismay of her team and fans.
“We had two yellow cards all year and (today) we get six and a red card. Pathetic!” AHN coach Chukwuma Asala said afterward. “They (HP) are a good team, but the officiating…it was pathetic, Section (III) couldn’t get better referees?”
“It was catty at times on both sides,” HP coach Josh Olney countered. “I told my girls to just play our game.”
Being a man up in OT gave HP an edge and Olney exploited it.
“I kept my subs going,” he said.
His strategy seemed to work as HP appeared a little fresher in the OT periods and AHN’s solid defenders could not stay with Lupia-Eannace on her game-winning play. “She’s done that for us a few times this year, come up from the back,” Olney said.
AHN: Riley Taylor 1-0, Elizabeth Harris 0-1, Ava Panto 1-0, Megan Marini 0-1. Saves – Kathleen Harris 7.
HP: Alexis Johnson 1-0, Sara Rachon 1-0, Mayle Lupia-Eannace 1-0. Saves – Haedyn Roberts 9.
Shots: HP 11, AHN 11.
Corners: HP 3, AHN 2.