.By Joe Cardello The Essex Reporter
On Oct. 22 the Essex boys’ soccer team began their post-season play with an opener against Lyndon Institute at EHS. The Hornets were favored to win as their regular season performance has earned them the three seed while Lyndon had a mere three wins all season long. Essex shut them out with a 4-0 win and took on the six seeded Colchester Lakers for another home game on Oct. 25. The last time the two teams clashed the Hornets clinched a shutout victory 2-0. This time the teams trudged into an extra period and Essex snuck a winning goal after only 34 seconds taking the quarterfinal match 1-0.
Although the stats favored the Hornets in this match, the teams were fairly even in play. The players’ ferocity and a persistent whistle generated warranted play stoppage, which interrupted the flow of the game. Possession throughout was practically even and each team had countless opportunities on the other’s net.
During the second half of play Hornet John McLemore was able to work the ball up the left side of the field on multiple occasions. At 22:05 he dribbled past a Colchester defender and delivered a powerful cross on the ground straight through the penalty box. It was met by a Laker defender’s even more momentous kick out of harms way.
At 17:17 Hornet Liam Donahue lofted the ball up towards the Colchester goal with a curvaceous shot that just barely topped over the net. With 10 minutes remaining in the game McLemore took a chance of his own on net and chipped the ball up towards the far post. The sky-high ball looked perilous for the Lakers but the wind picked up just as the ball started to descend and pushed it up and over the goal and down onto the backside of the net. Essex’s concentration was steadfast until the end of regulation time and the second half ended with a powerful attack on the Colchester goal that was prevented by a risky Laker slide tackle in the penalty area.
Hornet head coach Scott Mosher said that the break in between the second half and the first period of over time was beneficial for his squad to regroup.
“It was a good time for us to regroup in between the periods. We had a couple of rough plays right there at the end with two corner kicks and direct kicks.
“I think the guys were fired up. They felt that they could score and they felt a little frustrated that they hadn’t been able to break through.”
Mosher claimed that the offensive pushes by his Hornets near the end of the second half gave the players confidence heading into the extra period.
“[We realized] it’s only a matter of time that we can score here. They don’t have a lid on the goal and we can get through.”
The Hornets entered the first period of extra time and vigorously approached the ball. Seconds into the period Noah Ferris broke through Laker defense and situated himself in front of the goal with only Colchester keeper Liam Mooney and a defender left to beat. With delicate touches he advanced and caught Mooney off his mark. With a chip to the far post Miles cleared him and netted the winning goal as the crowd erupted in cheers and the Hornets swarmed the field to rejoice.
“I thought it was a very evenly played game and the score indicated how the game was played. There was not a lot of opportunities on goal and hence you get a 0-0 game and we were fortunate enough to have a nice counter attack in overtime to get the win.”
After defeating the Lakers – last year’s champions – the Hornets advanced to play in Bennington against the number two seed Mount Anthony on Oct. 29 at 3 p.m.