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High school boys soccer: Bay flurry comes too late
Jim Bobel/The Morning Journal Revere's Nolan Dyko, front, and Bay's Dominic Passalacqua collide while trying to head the ball in the first half of Wednesday's Division II State Semifinal match.
Jim Bobel/The Morning Journal Bay's Matt Koch, left, knocks the ball away from Revere's Blake Easterling in the first half.
Jim Bobel/The Morning Journal Bay's Mitchell Matakovich, front, knocks the ball away from Revere's Chase Somple in the first half.
Jim Bobel/The Morning Journal Revere's Nolan Dyko, celebrates scoring the first goal of the match.
The Rockets bowed out of the Division II state tournament, 4-3, to Revere in a state semifinal at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School, despite scoring three goals in the final 20 minutes, including two goals in the final 90 seconds.
“There’s never any quit in this team,” Bay coach Bob Dougherty said.
Bay came into the match knowing it would have to contend with less-than-perfect weather conditions, as a driving rain fell throughout the match, along with the wind gusting around the stadium.
“We started off in the beginning, with the wind was whipping and the rain was going, and figured we’d just weather the storm,” Dougherty said. “The first 20 minutes, everything was alright. We just got a little aggressive on a restart, they get a flick and it ends up in the back of the net.”
The Minutemen got on the board first when senior midfielder Nolan Dyko headed a pass from teammate Brandon Taylor into the back of the net in the 20th minute.
“After that, we told the team to just maintain,” Dougherty said. “We had chances in the first half, but we just didn’t finish.”
Revere pushed its lead to 2-0 in the 26th minute, when Dyko dropped a passed to Brian Gillette, who slipped it past Bay keeper Colin Southerington. It looked like it was going to be Dyko’s night at that point. Instead, it was the start of something special for Gillette.
In the second half, it looked as if the match was all but over when senior forward Jordan Marich snapped a shot at Southerington, who made a save but was unable to control the rebound.
The ball trickled away from the Bay goalie right onto the foot of Gillette, who tapped the ball into the net to push the Minutemen’s lead to 3-0 with a little less than 30 minutes left.
“We just couldn’t get a hold of the ball. We were just too excited,” Dougherty said. “Then finally, we got one, and we wondered if we could breath a little bit.”
Dillon Gundlach finally tallied the first Rockets goal in the 60th of a strike the blew past Revere keeper Joel Gerberich.
Three minutes later, though, Gillette struck again for the hat trick on a nifty spin move to get around a Rockets defender and slip another past Southerington.
Bay made things interesting when Domenic Ruma snapped off a shot from close to 50 yards out that had enough bend to get past Revere’s keeper in the 88th. With 17 seconds left, the Rockets were awarded a penalty kick, which Matt Comienski buried to cut the lead to 4-3, but even with momentum on their side, the Rockets didn’t have enough time to strike again.
“Tonight was a game of opportunities, fortunately they were ours,” Revere coach Sandor Jakab said. “We were up, 3-0, and then complacency set in. You have to give Bay all the credit in the world. They didn’t give up. They kept fighting.”
With the win, the Minutemen return to the state final for the third time in the past four seasons. The prior two times, they finished as state runner-up. They’ll play Columbus Watterson Saturday afternoon at Crew Stadium in Columbus.
For the Rockets, the season ends with a bit of deja vu. Their season ended on the same field the year before in the state semifinal when they lost to CVCA 3-0.
“It’s heartbreaking. You get to this point and you’re that close,” Dougherty said. “We’re a little older this year, but it’s a thick junior class, with a few seniors in the mix. The honest truth is, we’re going to be just as nasty next year.
“Hopefully, we can get over that hump. Of course, we know this could have been our only shot at it, and we might not see if for another decade.”
Last Updated: 11/6/2013 10:37:51 PM EST