FHC Varsity Soccer Defeats FHN in Overtime Thriller

FHC Varsity Soccer Defeats FHN in Overtime Thriller

Sam Hopkins, Sports Editor

With fifty-four seconds remaining in overtime,  junior goalkeeper Jared Ireland made the save of his life, preserving the 2-1 lead. With this big save, the Rangers would hold on to defeat the FHN Huskies, the number one ranked team in division two.

“It was surreal,” Jared said. “I made the save, looked at the game clock and realized that we had just won the game.”

The first significant play of the game came with fourteen minutes to go in the first half.  Up until this point, the game was in a scoreless deadlock.  As the Huskies started to apply pressure, they forced mistakes and drew a penalty inside of the Rangers box.  A penalty shot would follow.  Although Jared dove the correct way, a FHN attacker was able to slot the shot past his outstretched arm, into the back of the net.

“We fell behind early but managed to fight back,” head coach Blair Lincoln said. “This is a true testament to this team.  I’m glad we were able to squeeze out the win.”

After the Huskies took a 1-0 lead, things got interesting.

Just minutes after FHN took the lead, a Husky defender played it back to their goalkeeper who proceeded to pick up the ball.  This brought uproar from coaches, players, and fans alike, who argued that a “pass back” had occurred.  Eventually, the ref had heard enough and handed out a yellow card to Lincoln.  This would not be the only card of the night for the two scrappy Forest Hills rivals.

With ten minutes remaining in the half, junior Mitch Strawser passed up ahead to freshman Sammy Postlewait.  Sammy took a touch, and put it past the Huskies’ senior goalkeeper Ben Meyers.

“Getting that first goal was big for our confidence,” Sammy said. “We knew we could beat [FHN] going in, so seeing it happen was great.”

The scoreline would remain at 1-1 for the duration of the half.

When the second half began, play picked up right where it had left off.  Both teams were motivated to secure the win and give themselves a greater chance at clinching the OK Conference title.

With twenty-eight minutes remaining in the match, the chippiness continued.  Taking out a FHN attacker from behind, junior Nolan Vandergrift was given a yellow card.  This penalty led to a free kick, twenty yards from goal.  With a chance take the lead, FHN sent the free kick towards goal.  Keeping the score even, Jared was able to make one of the biggest plays of the night with a diving save.

“Our defense played phenomenal,” Jared said. “All the credit goes to them. Things got tough when we went down a man, but we just kept grinding.”

With the tension and drama building, both teams pushed for goal.  The intensity and physicality picked up drastically.

“It was a physical game to say the least,” senior captain Kevin Conn said. “I’m proud of our guys for toughing it out and picking up the win.”

Within three minutes of each other, two Husky players managed to pick up yellow cards, giving FHC the advantage.  The advantage soon switched to FHN, as Nolan picked up his second yellow of the night.  Nolan was now unable to play, and the Rangers were down one man.

The score would remain 1-1 for the rest of regular time.  Overtime was to follow.  With the Rangers down one man, they would be fighting an uphill battle.

With eight minutes to go in overtime, junior Ian Abel had a throw in on the near sideline.  His throw would find the head of Sammy and go into the back of the net, giving the Rangers their first lead of the contest.

“It was just amazing,” Sammy said. “The center-mids provided the balls for me all night and gave me the opportunity to put them in the back of the net.”

With fifty-four seconds left in the game, FHN counter-attacked and had a one on one opportunity.  Jared was able to step up and make the save, confirming the win for FHC.

With a six-game win streak, the Rangers look to keep their momentum going late into the season.

“We need to keep getting better,” Lincoln said. “Progression is huge.  We need to continue playing our game no matter the opponent.”