The No. 4 Oswego boys varsity soccer team knocked No. 13 East Aurora out of the Lockport Sectional Regional Semifinals 5-1 on Tuesday, Oct. 22. OHS improved its record to 17-4-1 (11-0 in the conference) on the season while East Aurora fell to 5-15-4 (1-6-2 in its conference).
Despite the final score, East Aurora began the game with the momentum. East Aurora forward Roman Hernandez scored the first goal of the game, which put East Aurora up 1-0 after 18 scoreless minutes.
Luckily for Oswego, midfielder Steven Udy potted a goal just three minutes after Hernandez put East Aurora on top, making the game tied 1-1. At this point, the Panthers slowly began to build up momentum.
Five minutes after Udy’s last goal, OHS was on the attack again. Udy received a pass right in the middle of the field in front of East Aurora’s backline. Because of where Udy was on the field, he was fouled and earned a free kick. The East Aurora players could be heard shouting “make a wall” in an attempt to block Udy’s shot, but the wall didn’t matter: the shot went right over the wall of defenders, past the goalie, and into the back of the net. Panthers then led 2-1.
After Udy’s second goal, the half settled down and scoring opportunities came and went for both OHS and East Aurora. The wind played a major factor in all shots attempted for the rest of the half, none of them required a save by either goalkeeper.
OHS went into the half up 2-1 in a game where their communication was unusually quiet and they struggled to take control of the play.
In the beginning of the second half, midfielder Giovanny Gallegos, one of the two captains for East Aurora, took a shot aimed right at the middle of the net, but Kade Gutierrez was able to leap and make the save.
Shortly after Gallegos’ shot, Oswego sophomore forward Daniel Avila managed to get the ball in deep, behind the backline of East Aurora. Avila quickly turned around and fired right at the short side corner. The Panthers then led 3-1.
At this point in the game, the wind became a major factor. Countless scoring opportunities by both OHS and East Aurora missed the net high and wide. Most notably, East Aurora had a chance to get back in the game on an offensive rush, but the intermediate shot taken went 10 feet over the net.
Moments later, another promising scoring chance developed for East Aurora, but the entry pass into the Panthers half of the field was ruled offsides. This chance would be the final chance East Aurora had at a close game.
The Panthers finally looked like they usually did: dominate. Senior forward Mason McCaw received the ball in the middle of the field and he managed to dribble passed the entire backline and score in a one on one with the goalkeeper, making the Panthers lead 4-1.
Only minutes later, East Aurora earned a throw-in which went straight through the intended player’s legs and right to an Oswego midfielder who dished the ball to McCaw. McCaw made the entire defensive unit look silly—he dribbled past everybody, including the goalkeeper– notching his second goal of the game, the Panthers then led 5-1
The next Panther opportunity came with 10 minutes left in the match, senior defender, Joe Pagone was fed a perfect pass from Mason McCaw, which Pagone finished for a goal but wasn’t credited because the pass was offsides. The score remained 5-1 at that point.
However, the scoring didn’t end for the Panthers at five goals. Udy, with three minutes left, was able to get right in the perfect spot for a close chip shot which he placed directly over the goalkeeper’s head for the sixth and final Panther goal of the game. The final score was 6-1, Panthers.
The Panthers certainly struggled out of the gate in this game, something that rarely happens.
“Sometimes we come out come confident, we’re ready to win, but there are no easy games.Coach Gaspar Arias said. came out strong and they outplayed us in the beginning, but at half we talked about what we can improve and in the second half we came out strong and we controlled the game.”
The Panthers were able to make multiple changes at the half which ended up being crucial to their win.
“Every time we lost the ball it was due to a lack of communication… the first half kinda sounded like a library. Udy said. In the second half, we made sure we talked to each other, we were trying to be as loud as possible to each other,”
The Panthers will continue their extended season in the Regional Final this Saturday, Oct. 26, when they face Waubonsie Valley. The Regional final will take place at the Oswego High School varsity soccer field at 3:30 p.m.