By ROB JONAS
COLONIE – The Fort Ann boys soccer team won its ninth consecutive Section 2 title by rallying past Oppenheim-Ephretah-St. Johnsville 2-1 in overtime Tuesday, Oct. 30, in the Class D final at Colonie Central High School.
No. 2 OESJ led 1-0 with 30 seconds left in regulation when Fort Ann’s Brendan Wright was taken down inside the box to set up a penalty kick. Sawyer Lunt stepped up to take the shot and slotted it into the lower right corner of the goal to tie the score at 1-1.
The top-seeded Cardinals, who had carried the play for much of the second half, kept the momentum going into the first 15-minute overtime period. Wright led a breakaway into OESJ’s territory and sent a crossing pass to Lunt, who directed a shot towards the lower right corner again. Wolves’ goalkeeper Adan Vasquez dove to stop the shot at the goal line, but it bounced off of him and directly to a charging Aidan Barnes, who knocked it into the goal for the game winner.
“This was a tough one, but we didn’t quit,” said Fort Ann head coach Rich McCabe. “I feel terrible for OESJ. They played a heck of a game.”
Fort Ann thought it had the lead midway through the second half when Barnes knocked in a rebound off a shot by Lunt that bounced off the crossbar. However, Barnes was ruled offsides by the referee, which kept the game scoreless.
OESJ broke the ice officially with less than eight minutes left in the second half. Zach Mosher took the ball down the right sideline and sent a crossing pass into the penalty box for Mason Snell, who tucked the ball past goalie Richie Jones to put the Wolves in front.
OESJ defended the lead as long as it could until the foul call inside its penalty box gave Fort Ann the break it needed to tie the score and keep its dream of a ninth straight Sectional title alive.
“Some of these kids have been playing three or four years for us. A couple of them have played five or six years. They’ve never lost a Sectional game. They don’t even know what it’s like to lose in a Sectional game,” said McCabe.
For OESJ, it was a bitter end to a pursuit of its first Sectional championship.
“They thought they had it. Thirty seconds left,” said OESJ head coach Mark Snell. “It’s heartbreaking, especially for the seniors.”
Fort Ann returns to Colonie Central High School Saturday, Nov. 3, to take on Section 9 champion Mount Academy in the Class D regional finals.
For a photo gallery from this game, click here.