The clock literally ran out on the Hollis Brookline High School boys soccer team’s season.
Just before Cavalier forward Cole Owens had stuffed in his own rebound, officials blew the whistle, signaling the end of a heart-thumping – and, from the Cavs’ perspective , heart breaking – 2-1 Division II semifinal loss at the hands of Oyster River.
The Cavs, trailing 2-0 with 10 minutes left, had cut the margin in half thanks to an Owens goal off a cross from Cam Tulley on a bang-bang play in the 73rd minute.
It was obvious that they would keep coming, even though the No. 3 Bobcats (12-3-1) missed a couple of golden late chances. In the final seconds, the Cavs made a rush on Bobcat netminder Jon Dutka, who was spectacular. Dutka made the last of his 11 saves on Owens, and referee Sean Murphy blew the whistle a second before the ball touched Dutka’s hands.
Right or wrong?
“You’d have to ask them,” Cavs coach Rick Carvalho said. “The frustrating part isn’t whether the whistle blew or didn’t blow, it’s that we didn’t take care of business when it mattered. If we’re worrying about what happened after 80 minutes and five seconds, then we didn’t do enough.”
And he was right, as top-seeded Hollis Brookline sees its season end at 16-2. The Bobcats, who will face No. 6 Souhegan in the finals, were clinging to a 1-0 lead, surviving wave after wave of HB attacks, when Bryce Schultz broke down the right side and found Griffen Luczek open.
Luczek beat Cavs goalie Mike Pattelena (six saves) with just over 10 minutes to play.
Then it was a matter of survival.
“I feel like I just ran a marathon,” Bobcats coach Charles Crull said. “It was exciting, but super emotionally draining as well. … They were coming at us from all different directions. We had our hands full, but I’m proud of my guys.”
The Bobcats took a 1-0 lead into the locker room thanks to a rebound goal by junior forward Andy McQuade off an assist from senior Tom Cusack. Cusack fired right in on Pattelena, who wasn’t able to control the rebound. With the Cavs’ netminder down, McQuade stuffed it home just under 10 minutes into the game.
“They (the Bobcats) finished,” Carvalho said. “When you finish, you win games. When you don’t finish, you don’t win games.”