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Iroquois, Grand Island capture Class A boys soccer championships

About ten minutes into sudden-death overtime, Ferdinand Zehetmeier of Iroquois picked off a pass about 30 yards from the Lewiston-Porter goal. Shooting seemed like the best option.

"I saw the ball coming, and I took the shot," the German exchange student said.

He got all of it, and the ball slipped past the Lancers' goalie and rolled into the net. Just like that, the Chiefs (8-8-3) had pulled off a shocking, 2-1 upset win over Lew-Port (16-2-1) to take the Section VI A-2 championship at Sweet Home High School in Amherst.

"I couldn't believe it," Zehetmeier said. "I was lucky because the ball bounced just in front of the keeper."

"I told Ferdinand beforehand that he was going to be the hero today, and he was," coach George Glinsboecker said. "We wanted them to shoot because anything can happen. Keep your head up and take the shot. ... I'll take luck any day."

The win meant the Chiefs will play Grand Island, 6-0 winners in the A-1 final over McKinley, for the Class A title. Iroquois' win capped quite a run for the team, the sixth seed in the tournament.

"Eleven weeks ago, we believed this team was good enough to make a run," Glinsboecker said. "In the middle of the season, I wasn't so sure. But it's not what you do in September, but what you do in October. And now we want to play in November."

Lew-Port controlled most of the action in the first half. Josh Smith, who leads the Lancers in scoring, put his team in front with about 19 minutes left in the half. But they couldn't capitalize on some other chances, in spite of the fact that Iroquois had to go to its backup goalie, Ian Klocek, because of an injury.

"We got a little down when our starting goalie went down," Glinsboecker said. "Ian came in, gave up a goal, but was fine after that. We've been coming back all season long."

Iroquois looked like a different team in the second half. The Chiefs almost scored in the first minute of play and did not let up. The pressure finally paid off with a goal on a scramble off a corner kick; Ryan Nehls was credited with it. Both teams had some chances after that, but it was Iroquois that capitalized on its opportunity in overtime.

There were no such surprises in the second game of the doubleheader. Grand Island (19-0) scored early and often to wrap up the win. It finished with an 20-5 edge in shots.

"I think we can play better, to be honest," GI coach Frank Butcher said. "We definitely have a better game in us. We had flashes, but we had some stretches where we weren't great."

John Griffin and Justin Kozlowski gave Grand Island an early edge. Even when something went right for McKinley (14-5), something went wrong. Griffin's penalty kick was stopped, but Conner Hutton swarmed in to follow up into an open net. That made it 3-0 just before the half. In the second half, Griffin had two more for a hat trick and Jackson Besl also tallied.

Now it's on to the Class A final on Tuesday against an Iroquois team that has some experience at giant-killing.

"We played them in the crossover last year," Butcher said. "At this time of year, you can't underestimate anyone. You get a lucky bounce and you can win."

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Note from Wednesday's B-2 final: Ilyas Galab should have been given credit for Lackawanna's third goal in its win over Lafayette.

email: bbailey@buffnews.com

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