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Bears edge Bulldogs in sudden death overtime

Tri-Valley’s Joshua Zieres, left, vies for possession with Will Siegel of Sullivan West.
TRR photos by Ted Waddell

October 19, 2016

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — “Dawg” gone it!

The home team Sullivan West Bulldogs boys varsity booters (1-11) lost 3-2 to the visiting Bears of Tri-Valley (4-8) in Friday night’s OCIAA Section 9 Class C matchup under the lights, with a shimmering silvery moon casting shadows over the soccer field.

Tri-Valley drew initial blood at 13:01 in the opening frame on an unassisted shot by Thomas VanSaders charging up the sidelines—his first of three goals, making him the only player of the match to rack up a hat trick.

At 22:26 in the second half, the Bulldogs got back into the fray as Will Siegel beat the Bears keeper to even it up 1-1.

Sullivan West surged into a 2-1 lead at the 18:17 mark on a long-distance boot by Alex Schwalb from an estimated 40-yards plus, a shot that just went over the keeper’s head.

With less than four minutes remaining in regulation play, Tri-Valley’s VanSaders caused an audible gasp from the bleachers as he launched a direct kick into the net to tie the game 2-2, his second goal of the game.

Faced with a pair of 10-minute overtime periods, both teams returned to the field facing a sudden death situation.

One team was going home with a victory, the other faced defeat.

VanSaders came back to the stage in the role of the “grim reaper,” ending the sudden-death match with his third and final goal at 1:32 in the first OT period.

Jason Martin, second-year coach of the Bears booters, said Tri-Valley has fallen on hard times in the last several seasons, but the win was a step on the comeback trail.

“We haven’t had four wins in probably seven or eight years, so this is the farthest we’ve made it in a long time,” he said.

To drive home this point, Martin noted that they started out last season 0-16, and began 2016 with an initial record of 0-4.

“They really pulled it together [tonight],” he added. “I’m so proud of these guys.”

Debbie Owens has been at the helm of the home-team boys varsity soccer program for 15-some years, and Friday’s loss on senior recognition night was a tough pill for her and her team to swallow.

“It was a very exciting game,” she said. “Both teams played hard, and this was the best my team has played the whole season.”

“They really wanted this game very badly, put two halves together, and kept their cool,” added Owen. “The sudden death, it was tough.

The official game stats were jotted down in the record book by the home team’s scorekeeper Patricia Ellmauer: