POTSDAM - At halftime of Thursday nights Class D Championship Soccer Championship game at Potsdam Central, Harrisville Coach Shane Countryman talked to his team about the need to cross the ball against Morristown.
Morristown was playing four in the back and they were really tough. We werent able to get that many shots said Countryman.
I told the guys that if we were going to score we had to bring the ball to the endline and score off a cross.
As it turned out junior Chris Sullivan scored on a majestic cross with 6:39 remaining in the first 15 minute sudden death overtime to give the NAC West Champion and second-seeded Pirates (16-1-2) a 1-0 victory.
Carrying the ball down the left flank, Sullivan lofted a cross from 25 yards out which carried well beyond the reach of Morristown goalie Luke King (6 saves), bounded off the right goal post and dropped into the net.
I wasnt really shooting, I was just trying to get off a good cross, said Sullivan after his golden goal lifted the Pirates into an 11 a.m. matchup with Section 7 champion Chazy on Saturday morning at Plattsburgh High School where the winner advances to the New York State Final Four in Middletown.
It is just amazing to win this game. I really wanted to win it for our seniors.
Ironically the goal came off a quick strike on a night when the Rockets generated their best threats on transition runs while the Pirates generated their best chances off deliberate buildups.
Nate Weaver, who moved from the midfield to striker to replace Jared Dreythaler who suffered a broken leg in a 1-0 win over Chateaugay, was extremely dangerous for the Pirates operating off crosses from Sullivan and through balls from Tim Fowler.
Weaver directed one cross from Sullivan past King early in the second half but defender Tristan Gilmour cleared the ball from threshold of the goal line.
Ryan Vollmer, who accounted for the Rockets best opportunities with power drives from the right wing, was denied by Pirate goaltender Zane Mono (11 saves) with 12:45 to play. Running on to one of several long clears by sweeper Tyler Delosh, Vollmer broke in on goal running shoulder-to-shoulder with a defender and got off a low shot which a diving Mono pushed wide of the net.
Nobody deserved to win more than this group. We lost an all-star player in Jared Dreythaler and had to re-arrange our lineup with just one day of practice, said Countryman, who was honored with Lisbons Bill Reed as the NAC West Co-Coaches of the Year.
But Morristown deserves a lot of credit they really played well.
Morristown Coach George Beaulieu credited his fifth seeded Rockets (13-4-0), who outshot the Pirates 11-7, for peaking at the right time and for rendering an outstanding effort in the contest.
Our guys left it all on the field and have every right to hold their heads high. This was just a great group to work with, said Beaulieu who guided a team without a senior to the Class D1 title in his first season.
It was a great game and they scored a great goal. Losing is always tough but losing on a goal like that so much better than losing on a fluke.
QUICK KICKS: Harrisville moved into the state tournament with their third straight 1-0 win...following the game Harrisvilles Tim Fowler was honored as the All-NAC West Defensive MVP and Lisbons Adam Kelley was named the divisions Offensive MVP...Harrisville is ranked 10th in this weeks NYS Sportswriters Class D Poll and will face the states number one team in Chazy on Saturday.