The Cooperstown boys earned a spot in the state final four in the most dramatic fashion possible on Saturday, Nov. 6. Luca Gardner-Olesen’s sudden-death goal in overtime lifted the Hawkeyes to a 2-1 victory over Greene in the Class C Regional Championship at the Wright National Soccer Complex in Oneonta.
It was the type of game that neither side will forget anytime soon.
“A heck of a game to win, a heck of a game to lose,” Cooperstown coach Frank Miosek said. “Give a lot of credit to Greene. We knew about their speed at the corners. We practiced for two days trying to simulate their play and I think it worked for us.”
Greene had the majority of the possession in a scoreless first half, with Cooperstown’s best scoring chances coming off of its counterattack.
Miosek said the message at the half was to win back control of the game despite some different personnel on the field.
“We were trying to say get back to control,” he said. “One thing that hurt us was that Ollie Wasson was down with an upset stomach, so we missed him. We had to move people around to different spots. But that’s what happens; you’ve got to play with the hand you’re dealt and we dealt with a good hand today. The kids stepped up at the end. Wyatt Montana, Ben Agostino, they all stepped up and gave us a solid team effort.”
Wasson wasn’t too sick, however, that he couldn’t open the scoring for Cooperstown early in the second half. After receiving a pass from Gardner-Olesen, Wasson streaked down the left wing and tucked it past Greene keeper Jesse Ledford for the goal.
The Trojans tied things up around nine minutes later on a goal of their own. Seemingly out of nowhere, Greene’s Liam Flanagin attempted a chip shot from well outside the 18-yard box. The shot turned out to be a perfectly placed, just dipping over the outstretched arms of Cooperstown goalie Finn Holohan and into the back of the net.
“They got a good shot from outside,” Miosek said of the goal. “No keeper’s going to save an upper-90 from 30 yards out.”
To his credit, Holohan came up with several crucial saves down the stretch to keep the score tied. He would finish with seven saves.
“He bodied up,” Miosek said of his keeper. “They had a couple good, powerful shots. They’ve got quality players.”
As the overtime period began, it was evident that Cooperstown was starting to gain the upper hand, spending more and more time in Greene’s end of the field.
Gardner-Olesen, who was one of the Hawkeyes’ top performers all game, took advantage of a through ball from Colby Diamond that got through the Greene defense.
With a defender on his heels and Ledford charging from the net, Gardner-Olesen chipped the ball into the net — and completed a somersault in the process.
“We just got back to our combinations and winning 50-50 balls,” Miosek said of the game-winning sequence. “And instead of trying to do it all yourself, we talked about it, please use the triangle. Please use each other. Earlier in the game we had some situations where we tried to do too much. I think we were calm enough at the end. We said, ‘Don’t be afraid to play, don’t be afraid to lose, just have fun.’ And we know how to have fun.”
With that, the game was over, as Gardner-Olesen and his teammates sprinted down the field in celebration.
Afterwards, Miosek made special mention of how well his backline played, facing frequent incursions from the Greene attackers and yielding just the one goal.
“I can’t say enough about our defense,” he said. “PJ Kiuber, Ethan Kukenberger, Charlie Lambert and Conrad Erway, they were steadfast.”
Next up for the Hawkeyes are the State Class C semifinals against Hamilton of Section I. That game will take place Saturday, Nov. 13, in Middletown.
For now, Miosek’s message to his team is pretty simple.
Cooperstown 2, Greene 1
Cooperstown: Ollie Wasson 1-0, Luca Gardner-Olesen 1-1, Colby Diamond 0-1
Greene: Liam Flanagan 1-0
Shots-Corner Kicks: C 14-2, G 14-7
Goalies: Finn Holohan (C) 7, Jesse Ledford (G) 5
The Cooperstown boys soccer team earned a spot in the state tournament by winning the Section III Class C Championship on Tuesday, Nov. 2, with a 3-1 victory over Fabius-Pompey.
Colby Diamond scored twice for the Hawkeyes while also providing an assist on the team’s third goal by Luca Gardner-Olesen, who had an assist of his own.
Grayson Wallace scored the lone goal for Fabius-Pompey.
Cooperstown’s Finn Holohan made one save in the victory while Kyle Carlson had eight stops for Fabius-Pompey.
Cooperstown 3, Fabius-Pompey 1
Cooperstown: Colby Diamond 2-1, Luca Gardner-Olesen 1-1
Fabius-Pompey: Grayson Wallace 1-0
Shots-Corner Kicks: C 18-1, FP 4-2
Goalies: Finn Holohan (C) 1, Kyle Carlson (FP) 8