MIDDLETOWN The greatest season in the history of Immaculate Heart Central boys soccer ended in heartbreak at Saturdays Class D state semifinals at Middletown High School.
After a 1-1 tie through regulation, two overtime periods, and a round of penalty kicks that ended in a 4-4 stalemate, Section 5 champion Jasper-Troupsburg advanced to todays state title game by virtue of winning the first set of sudden victory PKs.
Wildcats senior goalie Dalton Cady provided the game-winning kick after IHC put its first shot a few inches wide of the net.
I was hoping that I was on the top of the list of the second team coming back after we tied the first round, and I was, Cady said. Im not afraid to take the game on my shoulders.
IHC junior goalie Jarrod Smith saved one shot in the first round of penalty kicks. Seniors Matt Guyette, Pat Gefell, and Austin Renzi, along with junior J.P. McClusky, all converted their respective kicks to force a second round of PKs.
We had a great season, a really good run, and the boys should be proud of what they accomplished this season because theyve done a lot, said IHC coach Mary Guyette, whose team ended the year with a 16-3-2 record.
To make it here to the final four is a big accomplishment. Its disappointing to end in a shootout, we obviously wanted to move on. Its been a great season, we really couldnt ask any more or for a better group of boys, with their commitment and dedication to the soccer program at IHC. Its been great.
The Section 3 champion Cavaliers struck first with a goal by Zach Frechette in the 35th minute. The sophomore headed in a pass from senior Jason Reape to give IHC a 1-0 lead.
The Cavaliers dominated possession for much of the first half and outshot the Wildcats, 9-3, in the period.
I think we forgot to get off the bus in the first half, Cady said. Were a passing team and we werent really connecting on anything.
Jasper-Troupsburg evened the score early in the second half when Dylan Price intercepted a pass from an IHC defender in front of the goal and connected to tie the game in the 45th minute.
We played hard, played our best and did all we could do, said IHCs Smith, who made seven saves in regulation and the two overtime periods.
Neither team was able to finish off scoring chances over an intense final 35 minutes of regulation.
Both teams finished with nine shots in the second half.
IHC was the aggressor in both overtime periods, finishing with seven shots to Jasper-Troupsburgs three.
IHCs best chance came about a minute into the first overtime when senior Chris Rowland fired a shot that Cady pinned between his hands and the crossbar. Cady corralled the ball afterward and the game continued.
Smith made several saves down the stretch to keep the game even.
I was just doing what my job is, try to stop the ball from going into the net, Smith said.
Cady finished with 13 saves for the Wildcats (16-3-2).
Prior to Saturday, the IHC boys soccer program has never advanced to a state final four in its 25-year history. The team won its first Section 3 championship since 1988 earlier this month.
Id say this is our best season, probably ever and probably the best boys team well have for the next few years, Smith said. I wish we had won, but this happens.