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Then again, what else it to be expected between the two archrivals?
“(The game) just brings so much more energy,” said East head coach Tom Creighton. “I thought it was great. The back-and-forth soccer? That’s how it’s supposed to be. At times, they were the better team and at times we were the better team. It was a hard fought battle.”
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Coming into the match on a three-game losing streak and without a goal in each of those, East was looking to change its fortunes, and that’s exactly what happened when senior Nick Peter became the overtime hero, giving East the 1-0 win.
“I think we had a total of four shots in (those) three games,” Creighton said. “Getting three or four shots in the last five or six minutes of that game was nice. To come off a three-game skid I’m sure these boys are extremely excited.”
It didn’t start off quite as well for the Cougars, though.
Sure, there was still some back-and-forth action, but West had the better of the scoring chances in the first half.
East, however, supplied a good amount of the physicality.
“We did a better job of putting it together in the second half, but as far as the physical presence, that was there the entire game,” Creighton said. “In order to win soccer games, you’ve got to have technical ability, but you have to be physical. Soccer is a physically sport and I think a lot of people have forgotten that.
“I’m glad our boys went out there and played the way they did and they got a favorable result. They had us on our heels at times.”
The game continued to be a stalemate through the second half, though the Cougars were putting more chances together, especially in later part of it.
“I don’t think anybody in the league separated themselves this year, so every game is going to be a tight match,” said West head coach Dave Hatt. “This is a test for us. We need to come together as a group in order to get through it or else we’re going to continue to struggle, which we’re doing right now.”
The last two minutes of the game saw quite a frantic pace as both sides were eager to get the deciding goal, but fate wouldn’t have it, not between these two.
But there was a sense, after a close call near the end of regulation where sophomore Oliver Santangelo missed the net by inches, that things were going East’s way.
“Mitch Cuzzolina gave us the spark,” Creighton said. “He gave us a few hard minutes toward the end of that second half that is what got the momentum going for us, and also the back four playing a solid game.”
Eighty minutes proved to not be enough for the Downingtowns as they headed into overtime.
East needed just 3:28 of the first overtime to clinch the game winner.
“There was a lot of excitement going on and we got a free kick right outside the 18,” Peter said. “I got in, slipped my defender, got a redirection, got in behind the defense and buried it in the back of the net.”
The goal sent East into a frenzy as they rushed the fence by their student section.
The win not only ended the losing streak, but also marked the second time in team history that they beat West since the Downintown split.
“I did mention to them (between halves) that people were saying last year was a fluke,” Creighton said. “I told them two years in a row isn’t necessarily a fluke.
“Let’s hope this gives them the momentum they need. It was a really good win for those boys. They’re really excited and I’m super excited for them.”