Hartford Ousted in Double OT
Colchester goalkeeper Liam Mooney, obstructed left, punches a clear away from Hartford defender Tanner Wilson (13) during the first half of the Lakers' 2-1 double-overtime defeat of the Hurricanes in a Vermont Division I boys soccer semifinal at Colchester High School on Tuesday. Valley News -- Greg Fennell Purchase photo reprints »
Colchester's Ben Seaman (4) falls after tangling with Hartford forward Steve Cerrone (27) near midfield during the first half of the Lakers' 2-1 double-overtime defeat of the Hurricanes in a Vermont Division I boys soccer semifinal at Colchester High School on Tuesday. Cerrone drew a foul on the play. Valley News -- Greg Fennell Purchase photo reprints »
Colchester, Vt. — For all of its reliance on improvisation, of living and creating in the moment, soccer has at least one certainty, and Hartford High senior Jed Sass has it memorized: “A lot of strikers, the best in the world, they just plug away, because the ball will eventually bounce for them.”
Which brings the narrative of Tuesday’s Vermont Division I boys soccer semifinal to one Matt Goudie. He’s a senior striker, in Colchester white. He runs. He feints. He’s passionate, to his benefit and, sometimes, his detriment. And he just plugs away.
Goudie deposited both Colchester goals in the second-ranked Lakers’ 2-1 double-overtime defeat of No. 3 Hartford in a Vermont Division I boys soccer semifinal at Colchester High School. He could have had more, but he finished the one that mattered most.
Winning a 50-50 ball with a Hartford back 40 yards from goal, Goudie picked up a favorable bounce to get behind the Hurricanes’ stout defenders. With two on his tail, Goudie raced into the Hartford penalty area and slapped a 16-yard roller past goalkeeper Aaron Parker for the victory with 10:54 left in the second 15-minute extra period.
“That’s what he does,” Sass lamented. “Sometimes he’ll try to take guys on and it doesn’t quite happen for him. But he keeps going; he keeps plugging away.
“There was a bit of an error on our part, but that can go for anyone, but the bounce went to him. And came in and he slotted it.”
Instead of the Hurricanes (14-3-0) returning to the state finals for the first time in 20 years, the long championship appearance drought ends instead after 14 seasons for the Lakers (15-2-1). Colchester meets Champlain Valley Union in this weekend’s finals.
Not that Goudie owned the rights to plugging away. Long-ball Hartford had to do as much through most of the match after conceding the game’s first goal midway through the first half.
The Hurricanes finally earned reward for their fortitude with a Peter Tsongalis bumper-pool header that trickled across Colchester netminder Liam Mooney’s goal line with 2:23 left in regulation. Hartford also did its best to wear out a Laker squad more accustomed to playing technical, short-pass soccer than the run-til-you-drop style of the Canes.
“It’s really frustrating, to be honest,” Goudie confessed. “It’s a lot of running. With the talent that we have, we can keep the ball down and pass it around players. We don’t have to get sloppy and make us run around like headless chickens.
“When the opportunities are asking for it, you play the long ball. But long ball after long ball, it just gets frustrating.”
Fate nearly frustrated Goudie on Colchester’s opening goal.
Freed on the right wing, the senior chipped a shot over the charging Parker and collided with the Hartford keeper as the attempt clanked the right post. Goudie got to the ricochet first and fed teammate Ben Seaman for a top-of-the-box shot that a retreating Parker (six saves) parried right to Goudie for the open-net conversion at 21:48.
Goudie thought he had a second at the stroke of halftime. With the sideline announcer shouting the final five ticks of the half to the referees, Goudie got a toe on a long throw-in that somehow snuck through Hartford’s defense. The ball appeared to hit the goal netting before the horn sounded, but the officials — after a conference — denied the strike.
“I saw there were 12 seconds on the clock and I was like, ‘Play a long ball in,’ ” Goudie said. “It came in, bounced over everyone’s head. It was right there; I just tipped it in. I was going nuts.”
From that moment forward, Hartford backs John Borchert, Tanner Wilson, Jeremy McGlone — a midfielder thrown into service when starter Mitchell Simmons tore a knee ligament last week — and Tsongalis yielded little of quality. Although Colchester’s shot totals mounted, few bids gave Parker concern.
“The four guys in the back have been phenomenal this year,” Sass said. “They’ve played with the utmost intensity and fight and passion to really get the job done. … They’ve been absolutely fantastic for us this year.”
Hartford finally got its break at 77:37. Sass delivered a right-wing corner for which Tsongalis outleaped Mooney, sending the ball into a maze of defending Colchester legs. The ball caught one of them and bounded across the line before Mooney could react.
“I thought I played a good ball, and out of basically 15 guys in the box, I saw Peter Tsongalis rise up,” Sass said. “Once you knock it down back in the mixer, anything can happen.”
Colchester thought it had the winner at 7:10 of the first overtime. Goudie delivered an indirect free kick from the right corner of the Hartford box to Seaman, who had two shots blocked. Seaman poked the second to an open Matt Brien, who solved Parker — from an offside position.
Parker also made a superb denial on a dipping 20-yard blast from Colchester’s Brett Nelson early in the second OT. After making the stop, Parker could only watch as the deflected ball popped over his prone body and just wide of the open right post.
“The game of soccer, it’s really commonplace in big games that you get one more chance,” Sass said. “Even at the professional level, that’s what they say: There’s going to be one more opportunity.”
Soccer just doesn’t get to pick the opportunist.
Corner Kicks: Goudie drew the game’s only yellow card for a takedown of Tsongalis from behind at 27:01. … Colchester held edges in shot attempts (24-16) and shots on goal (8-7). Mooney finished with six saves for the Lakers. … The Canes owned an 8-2 advantage in corners. … Derrick Davenport returned for Hartford after serving a one-game suspension for a red card received in the Canes’ first-round win over Spaulding. … Colchester’s previous two visits to the D-I final have come against CVU, a 2-0 overtime win in 1988 and a 3-1 loss in 1999. … Hartford’s only boys soccer championship appearance came in 1993, a 2-1 loss to Burr & Burton in Division II. The Canes last made the semis in 1998, a 1-0 D-I loss to Brattleboro. … Hartford graduates a whopping 14, but leading goal scorer Connor Brooks (12 goals) is among the returnees.
Greg Fennell can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3226.