Falcons' last second effort goes off crossbar
By David Yarger
It had been a historic season for coach Pete Cerney's girls soccer team. The season ended, though, in the Section VI Class A1 finals Saturday, after a 1-0 loss versus Williamsville East.
The team came into the game on a two game winning streak after a quarterfinals victory over North Tonawanda and an upset win versus unbeaten Hamburg.
The championship was a back and forth battle for both periods, but the Flames got on the scoreboard off a deep kick from Gretchen Beyer. The score in the 31st minute of the first half would be the only sign of life on the scoreboard.
The Falcons had chances late, but its best opportunity came with one second left. With a blowing wind at the back of the Flames keeper, the Falcons sent a kick towards the net that looked to be sailing over the net. With the wind, the shot sailed over the outstretched arm of the keeper's hand, but off the cross bar. After the ping sound of the crossbar, the final buzzer sounded, sealing a Williamsville East championship.
Despite a tough loss, Cerney was happy his girls reached the title, knowing all the work the team put in to get to it.
"I'm extremely proud. They've been talking about this for a long time and they knew they had to work for it and they did to get here. It was a high-quality game between two high-quality teams," he said.
The entire game, the Flames defense made life difficult for the Falcons to establish any sort of offense. Cerney said the showing spoke volumes to how good East is.
"They're a strong team," he said. "Their ability to get you off the ball is a big threat. That was one of our bigger challenges today. I think we eventually did better at that, and that allowed us to hang in the game."
This wasn't the first time the Falcons faced off versus the Flames this season. In early October, the Flames defeated N-W, once again, 1-0. Other than the stakes of the game, Cerney said there were some key differences from the two matches.
"The first game they weren't playing with one of their top strikers. We knew it would be a different feel for a game. We also know our small grass field is very different from a large turf field, so that changes some of the dynamics of the game, too. There definitely were some differences between the two games," Cerney said.
When asked about the last second shot off the crossbar, Cerney simply said, "We should've done that earlier."
The loss gives the Falcons a final record of 13-5-1.
The team will graduate five seniors, including Madison Evarts, Karissa Wilson, Savannah Rutkowski, Samantha Maghrak and Tara Perrault.