Throughout the regular season and playoffs, Iroquois has been known for scoring goals.
During sectional play this year, Greece Olympia has stopped every shot that has come their way.
Something had to give.
In the fourth minute of the first overtime period, Kuditra DeRosa’s left-footed strike inside the 18-yard box was the game’s lone goal, sending Greece Olympia to the state Final Four with a 1-0 victory over Iroquois at Williamsville East High School.
The loss for Iroquois ends a storybook season for the Chiefs, who were appearing in their first-ever Far West Regional game in girls soccer.
“This is what a playoff game should be like,” Iroquois head coach Heather Ross said. “0-0, going to overtime. This is what you come to do. I’m sad we didn’t get a goal, but you win some, you lose some. I’m so proud of the girls. They worked hard and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.”
Greece Olympia entered the game with a shutout streak that spanned 379 minutes. As the Spartans held the Chiefs – who averaged 5.3 goals per game entering Friday – off the scoreboard, their shutout streak was upped to 479 minutes, heading into next weekend’s state semifinal matchup in Cortland.
Spartans goalkeeper Giana DiMora made 17 saves for Greece Olympia (17-3-1).
Besides DeRosa’s game-winning kick, Greece Olympia’s head coach Danielle Boneberg credited her team’s victory by keeping Iroquois “outside” and making the Chiefs constantly shoot from the outside.
“We had a lot of chances. We just didn’t get them in the net,” Ross said.
A four-goal first half aided Section V’s Avoca Tigers to the state semifinals, defeating North Collins, 7-1.
It was North Collins’ fourth consecutive appearance in the Far West Regionals, all under the tutelage of Vince Fininzio since assuming head coaching duties in 2016.
This year’s title was a little different than previous years as they earned the Class D title by default due to being the lone Class D school in Section VI.
With no playoff bracket in the class, North Collins was playing in their first game in just over three weeks.
“It was beneficial to get some players back. I was missing three starters [due to] injuries,” Fininzio said regarding his team’s 22-day hiatus from playing a game. “They wouldn’t even have played today if we didn’t have this time off.”
Avoca started the game spending a great deal of time inside the offensive zone. The Tigers scored their first two goals in the first eight-plus minutes of the game, scoring the first goal on a set piece after a North Collins handball and the other came on a 3-on-2 opportunity.
The Tigers added two more goals in a span of 3:02 in the middle portion of the half before North Collins scored a late goal in the first half.
Avoca (19-2) added three more goals in the second half, marking the seventh time they netted at least seven goals in a game.
“They moved the ball well,” Fininzio said, regarding Avoca’s offense. “I know Section V play tough soccer, good competition. Coming into the game, I liked our chances. Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, but they put a lot of pressure on us.”
North Collins concludes the season with an overall record of 8-7-2.