Oak Hall boys soccer wins in OT
Published: Friday, February 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 1, 2008 at 12:42 a.m.
Despite getting knocked out in the regional semifinals last season by Orange Park St. Johns Country Day and dropping a pair of regular-season games to the Spartans this season, the Oak Hall boys soccer team was still confident.
Matt Chrzanowski, one of two seniors for Oak Hall, said the Eagles knew they could beat St. Johns Country Day (SJCD) in Thursday night's Region 1-2A quarterfinal.
After 100 minutes of action that is exactly what happened. Chrzanowski scored the game-winning goal to give Oak Hall a thrilling 1-0 win (4-2 in penalty kicks) as Eagles' fans stormed the field.
Freshman goalkeeper Lee Johnston made 13 saves, including two in the penalty-kick shootout for Oak Hall (16-6-1), which will play at Jacksonville Providence in Tuesday's regional semifinal.
"Losing twice to them (in the regular-season) and then coming back and winning like this, it's just awesome," said Chrzanowski, who previously played his soccer in Cleveland Ohio, before transferring to Oak Hall at the start of the school year. "We knew what we had to do and we got it done. "
Both clubs played to a scoreless tie after 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods that featured physical play throughout. Each team also finished with 15 shots on goal before the outcome needed to be decided by penalty kicks.
Gene Rodrick drilled a shot to the lower left corner past SJCD sophomore keeper Joel Haznedl to give the Eagles a 1-0 edge. But Walker Barre answered for the Spartans (13-4-2) by finding the back of the net in the lower right corner, knotting the score at 1-1.
In the second round of kicks, Haznedl (13 saves) and Johnston each made saves leaving the score deadlocked. However, Jordan Chung scored to put Oak Hall back in front 2-1, before Johnston made a diving save to his left of Ramzi Shayk's shot, preserving the home team's lead.
Jack Salafrio gave the Eagles a 3-1 cushion in the fourth round of kicks, but Cole Snyder answered with a goal of his own to keep the Spartans, regional finalists a year ago, alive for the time being.
That was until Chrzanowski, in the fifth and final round of kicks, drilled a shot to the upper right corner of the goal, propelling the Eagles to victory in what was their first shootout of the season.
"I just told him (Johnston) he had to save one and we'd be good, but he did way more than that. He is just an awesome goalie and he plays like an upper chessman," Chrzanowski said. "We've been working on penalty kicks the entire time after practice. Finishing the last goal, I couldn't have asked for anything more."
Oak Hall, which advanced to the regional semifinals last season and to the regional finals in 2006, heads to Jacksonville to face another familiar opponent. The Eagles defeated the Stallions, 2-0 in a regular-season meeting this winter and but fell to Providence in the regional finals two years ago.
"I'm just really proud of these guys," said Oak Hall coach Basil Benjamin. "From day one they've worked really hard."
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