Sabovic’s OT goal ends Kids season
To quote Yogi Berra, “It was déjà vu all over again.”
The same teams, with the same seeds, the same field — and most importantly for Pleasant Valley — the same player with the game-winning goal.
Mirza Sabovic’s free kick goal at 12:35 of the second overtime lifted the Bears to a 2-1 win over Northampton in the quarterfinals of the District 11 Class 4A boys soccer tournament on Thursday.
Just two weeks ago, PV beat the Konkrete Kids by one goal in a shootout, with Sabovic scoring the game-winner in the quarterfinals of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference tournament.
“I told my team we better not get to another shootout with them again,” said Bears’ coach, Alex Wunder. “I’m a big believer that if the same thing repeats a second time, you’re not going to come away with a win like we did the last time.”
The game unfolded much like the first match, with Pleasant Valley dominating field possession and time of possession for the first 10 minutes.
Then at the 25-minute mark, PV’s Matthew Erhardt was tripped up on a drive to the goal, and the Bears were awarded a penalty kick. Sabovic drilled a shot past Northampton goalkeeper Brady Rimple for a 1-0 PV lead.
The Konkrete Kids (11-5-4) picked up the pace and mounted an attack with speed and precision passing after giving up the goal. Team captain Dylan Domchak had two good chances to score in close, but was stopped by Bears’ goalkeeper Chris Price.
Northampton carried the attack for the first 10 minutes of the second half, and Price had to come up big on two more point-blank shots.
At the 22:30 mark, the Kids’ Jacob Auger blasted a 15-yard kick from the far right side that sailed high into the net over Price to knot the score at 1-1.
Momentum shifted back and forth with Domchak and the Bears’ Zion Moore nearly kicking in game winners.
Moore continued to run by the Kids’ defenders for close in chances during the first OT, and Rimple stopped him cold with just 10 seconds left.
Sabovic’s winning free kick from 18 yards away was heading straight to the net until a Northampton defender stuck out his leg that deflected the ball past a diving Rimple into the right corner of the goal.
“As soon as I was given the free kick, I knew I was going for it,” said Sabovic. “I was aiming for the far post. and as it turned out, that’s where the deflection sent it.”
“We had a really good year,” said Kids’ coach Adam Bastidas. “This was an exciting and even game. It’s a shame that we lost the last two times we played them on a PK and a free kick.”
“We’ve got to get more consistent in our efforts,” said Wunder of his Bears’ team. “We need to win in regulation because sudden death overtime is too risky.”
Pleasant Valley finished with 10 shots on goal to Northampton’s seven. Both goalkeepers had six saves.