Pates top EHS for boys soccer title
As a Freedom player lay on the turf at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, Freedom had pressure on Emmaus’ goal early in the second overtime. With the player obviously injured, the referees made the call to not blow the whistle and kill the Freedom opportunity.
It was the right decision, but it turned out to have a bad result for Emmaus when Brad Turocy fired a shot past goalie Aidan Connolly to beat Emmaus 1-0 in the District 11 Championship.
“They’re not going to stop the play in that situation,” said coach John Cari. “In that situation, you let it play out and see what happens. Y
“ou can’t take that opportunity away from them with a player down, so that was the right call. It just looked like a failed clear on our part and it led to the goal.”
The two teams battled to a scoreless tie through regulation, with each team having clear looks at the goal that came up empty. The same storyline played out in the first overtime, but Cari noticed a trend that was dangerous for his team.
“What happened was that in the overtime, it was very stretched and it was just going back-and-forth,” he said. “They’re a direct team, so I knew that if we got stretched too much it became very dangerous and played into their favor. They found one long and Turocy put it past our guy,”
Freedom (19-1-4) advanced through districts with a 1-0 win on penalty kicks against Stroudsburg in the quarterfinal round and then edged Freedom 1-0 in the semis to advance to the championship game against Emmaus.
The Hornets had beaten Pocono Mountain East 3-0 and then downed Parkland 3-2 in the semis. Both Freedom and Emmaus qualify for the PIAA Tournament and because of the loss, Emmaus will have to travel to Hatboro-Horsham High School for their first-round game against Abington, the second-place team from District 1.
Freedom, meanwhile, has their opening round game back at J. Birney Crum Stadium against Spring-Ford.
While Cari would have rather had gold medals around his player’s necks than silver, the fact that the team doesn’t get a game closer to home doesn’t really concern him.
“I’m not affected by that,” he said. “I think we’re okay with it and we’ll see how it shakes out. We’ll get some game film and take a look at it and put together something for Tuesday.”
Freedom outshot Emmaus 6-4 in the game, with both teams getting three corner opportunities, none of which were converted. Connolly made five saves in the game, while Patriots’ goalie Derek Bast had four.
“I thought if we would have had a little more possession time, it would have helped,” Cari lamented. “I thought that one mistake one way or the other was going to determine this game.”
Turocy has scored 31 goals this season and was honored as an all-conference player in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.
“You’re looking at a 30-goal scorer in Turocy, he’s an outstanding player. Their go-to guy was able to do it,” said Cari. “They did a really good job and hats off to Matt [Freedom coach Matt Reightler] because he knew what he had this year and he really drove the kids to be as good as they could be and to play hard every game and they played a fantastic game tonight.”