Cuthbertson’s quick offense and almost impenetrable defense was on display in the third round of state soccer playoffs at West Stokes High School on Wednesday, Nov. 7. The Cavaliers beat the Wildcats 2-1 in overtime.
Cuthbertson hit the field putting strong pressure on the ball and kept the Wildcats on the defensive in the first half of the game. The Cavaliers grabbed a goal in the first quarter.
West Stokes came back fighting for the ball in the second half. Austin Snow trapped the ball in the goal area and leveled a shot into the goal at the 20:10 marker.
In the final 20 minutes of the second half, both sides tried to break the 1-1 tie with another goal. The Wildcats and the Cavaliers had some close shots, but none hit the mark. The game went into overtime. With just two minutes to go in the first overtime period, David Moll sank a shot into the goal, which brought the final score to 2-1.
At the beginning of the game, Cuthbertson kept the West Stokes players on their toes. The Cavaliers started the game hard on the offensive. Cuthbertson racked up close shots at the 20:26 and 16:50 markers. With 13 minutes left in the first half, the Cavaliers’ Obi Collins rushed into the goal area and fired off a shot, which brought the score to 1-0.
With four minutes left in the first half, Thomas Hawkins broke away from defenders and leveled a kick toward the goal, but the shot hit the goal post and bounced off. Nate Hale fired off a long-flying shot in the final minutes, but it failed to hit the mark.
In the second half the Wildcats took to the field, hoping to stage a comeback. In the previous round of playoffs, the Wildcats were down 2-0 against Forbush and fought back after the half for a 3-2 win. West Stokes tried to recreate this on the field in the third round, but they had problems.
The Wildcats had some good drives into Cavalier territory, but they could not sink their shots in the goal. Cuthbertson’s defenders worked diligently through the night clearing the ball.
West Stokes finally found a break at the 20:10 marker, when Austin Snow settled the ball in the goal area and nailed a shot into the goal. This tied the game up 1-1.
The Wildcats used their control of the ball to build some good passes that worked to bring them into Cavalier territory time and again, but they could not seem to get the ball in the goal. With six minutes left in the second half, Snow made a quick pass to Hawkins, but he couldn’t sink the shot. There was another impressive drive by Hawkins, who fired off a pass to Hopper, but the shot was dismissed by the Cavaliers’ defense.
With the game still tied, it went into overtime. Before the first period started, Wildcats head coach Andrew O’Neal told his team to be “flexible,” “put pressure on the ball” and limit the Cavaliers’ movement.
In the first overtime period, both teams fought hard for the ball. The ball soared high on kicks and headings as each team struggled to get the ball down field for a goal.
With two minutes to go in the first overtime period, the Cavaliers pushed the Wildcats back on their heels. The Cavaliers’ David Moll broke through the Wildcats’ defense and powered a shot into the goal, which brought the score to 2-1.
In the second period of overtime, O’Neal knew his team had to take some “chances.”
The Wildcats fought heroically as the clock ticked down, sending a volley of shots toward the goal in the final moments of the game, but they came up short. Will Moore had a long-flying shot that bounced off the top post and went out. The shot was so close that Moore pounded his fists on the ground in dismay. The final score was 2-1.
West Stokes ends its season with a record of 18-4-2.