SOMERS, N.Y.— Shot after shot, the frustration began to mount.
Sometimes a soccer team can thoroughly dominate a game, and have nothing to show for it.
Somers controlled much of its Class A quarterfinal against visiting Nyack and had countless opportunities, but the 2016 state champions couldn’t find the back of the net. Regulation ended in a 1-1 tie, but Nyack advanced on penalty kicks, 5-4.
“It just was not our night,” Somers coach Brian Lanzetta said. “Nyack had a great game plan. Sit back and park the bus. Defend for their life and take it to PKs. This is why this game is so beautiful and the ball is round for a reason—you never know which way it will bounce.
“These boys of Somers are amazing. The senior class was such a pleasure. I love those boys—my second year in as a coach—I now know the best feeling (winning states) and the worst feeling of coaching. But it’s not about how you get knocked down. It’s about how you get back up and go from there.”
After Max Grell scored to tie it up at 4-4, Nyack’s Tariku Smith stepped up to the line, buried it to the left past Somers goalie Conor O’Donoghue and Nyack players stormed the field in the celebration.
Andrew Circle, Nolan Fierro and Lucas Fecci also converted penalty kicks. Drew Lasher was the first Tusker up, but missed wide to the right on Monday, Oct. 23.
Both goals were scored in the first half. Sixth-seeded Nyack craftily scored just six minutes into the contest to take the lead, but third-seeded Somers answered when Lasher netted a goal on a through ball from Jonathan Riina in the 35th minute.
Somers kept the pressure on throughout the game and dominated possession. Its best chances in overtime came in the first 15-minute overtime period. Five minutes in, goalie O’Donoghue punched a ball out on a throw in straight to Grell. Grell sent a long ball to Riina, who sprinted on it but slotted the ball wide right past a sprawling Sam Beck.
The Nyack goaltender came through time and again, finishing with 25 saves. With 4:30 left in the first overtime, Lasher had an opportunity right in front, but shot it right into a diving Beck.
In the locker room, after the loss, Lanzetta told his team to “appreciate every moment in soccer as a Tusker.”
“It does not last forever,” he said. “But if you can look back and say those were the best years of my life—win or lose—then I feel I’ve done my job. The boys are proud of their season and everybody loves everybody. ‘Tusker Nation’ is a family and this legacy does not die here. We will be feared every season. I plan to put my life into this school, this town and these boys. Watching them cry and crying with them only motivates me more.”
Somers, which finished the season 14-2-1, defeated Rye 5-0 in the opening round on Oct. 19.
Jake Faigle, who finished with two goals and an assist, got the party started when he scored just 10 minutes into the game.
“It was a free kick and Nolan played it in,” Faigle said. “Nobody was marking me back-post and I just headed it in to the far post.”
Lucas Fecci made it 2-0 not long after and the Tuskers took that score into halftime.
“We knew this was a sectional game and it was do or die,” Faigle said. “We just came out as hard as we could and scored two quick goals and that just shut down Rye.”
Just over seven minutes into the second half, Fecci extended the lead to 3-0. Ferraro and Faigle added insurance goals to close out the win.
Lasher (2A), Fierro (1A) and Alex Maher (1A) each added assists.
O’Donoghue stopped 10 shots in a game where the Tuskers shut down the Garnets’ offense.
“Dillon Conecoff has really stepped up as a junior,” Lanzetta said of his defense. “Matt Sikorski is dealing with a hip flexor injury. You can put Max Grell in the back and he can be a beast and I did that for the last 20 minutes and he just shut it down. I think the defense is strong. Jack Dickson is having a heck of a year as a junior. Alex Piazza always locks off one of the best, top forwards. And then Circle on the left. It’s clear as day, the defense is good.”
Just 12 hours removed from the quarterfinal loss, Lanzetta is already looking ahead and excited for the 2018 season.
“I plan to make my younger guys get close,” Lanzetta said. “Build a soccer unity and family. I plan to have winter workouts and offseason get togethers. For the strong junior class this may have been a wake-up call and I know they will be more fired up for the 2018 season than ever.”