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The ball was loose and rolling with a clear path toward the goal. As it inched closer to the goal line, Somers coach Keenan Deegan had a single thought.
“I wish it was us,” he said.
After 108 minutes of scoreless soccer, a fluke score ended the Tuskers’ bid for their first state title in school history.
Somers (20-2-1) fell to South Side (Section 8), 1-0, in quadruple overtime of Sunday's NYS Class A final at Homer High School. Katie Ford tallied the golden-goal with 61 seconds left, propelling the Cyclones to their state-best 16th title and eighth championship in the last 12 years.
“We’ve got no reason to hang our heads,” Deegan said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t happen for you. Today was the day."
On the game-winning goal, South Side (15-2-4) played the ball down the middle of the field in Somers’ offensive zone. The ball took a high bounce just at the edge of the box and three players settled under it. Somers keeper Beth Coppolecchia came out to play it and a defender was there, too. But Ford got there first and headed the ball forward. Another Somers defender raced in to try and stop the ball’s momentum, but it was too late.
“I think it’s a shame,” Deegan said of the way the game ended. “But you’ve got to give credit to the kid [Ford]. She came in like gangbusters and made a great effort.”
Both teams generated shots (31 combined), but each lacked clear opportunities to shoot. It was the type of game that seemed destined for a scoreless tie until South Side unceremoniously stole away a co-championship.
“I still can’t believe that happened,” Deegan said. “Both teams did their jobs. They got the header and we didn’t.”
Coppolecchia finished her standout career with another stellar outing. The senior made 11 saves, including five in overtime and earned the tournament’s most outstanding goalie award.
“Not that she saved us, but she did her job,” Deegan said. “We expect greatness from her.”
Somers had already survived two previous overtime games in the playoffs. The Tuskers were the team used to getting the bounces. One untimely break cost Somers its ultimate goal, but the success of the year should not be understated.
“This was the best season Somers ever had,” Deegan said. “Bar none."
Email David Resnick at firstname.lastname@example.org