By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (May 21, 2015) – Three cards, two penalty kicks, two hat tricks, two overtimes and two tons of emotion later, the Conference 14 boys soccer quarterfinal between No. 3 Tuscarora High School and No. 6 Potomac Falls High School finally ended in the 96th-minute when Tuscarora senior Justin Carey connected on his fourth goal of the game, as the Huskies defeated the Panthers, 5-4, in double overtime.
“We don’t want to ride our luck on a PK shoot out, so we know we needed to score,” Carey said. “I’m so happy we were able to do that.”
With 12 minutes left in regulation, Potomac Falls sported a 4-1 lead, but Carey was not ready to play in his last high school game. A cross in the box opened Carey up to find the back of the Panthers’ net, but the Huskies still trailed by two goals.
“It’s indescribable. To be down 4-1 with your backs against the wall, it’s tough. You get down on yourself. But once you get one then all the momentum swings your way,” Carey said.
Physical play highlighted the back end of the second half, and an altercation in the Potomac Falls’ goal box in the 74th-minute led to Carey’s second penalty kick goal of the game.
“Once we got that PK, we had all the momentum, they were down a man, and we had the opportunity to push three up top,” Tuscarora senior Calvin Witteveen said. “It’s just a never say die attitude. Going into overtime, we knew they were tired. We were tired, but knew we had the man advantage. Justin Carey came through tremendously tonight; he deserves a lot of credit.”
A hat trick wasn’t enough for the University of Mary Washington bound forward as he found the back of the net just 20 seconds into the second session of the sudden victory, double overtime.
“What can I say,” Tuscarora head coach Dave Gryder said. “There’s a reason he’s first team all-conference again.”
After fending off the No. 3 seed for 68 minutes, the No. 5 Panthers seemed to run out of steam in their back and losing the extra defender to a red card with seven minutes remaining in regulation was ultimately their Achilles heel.
“It was a heroic comeback. It was definitely our finest comeback in five years here,” Gryder said. “Down 4-1 with 12 minutes left, we just dug deep. They weren’t willing to just give in to what the score was. It was unbelievable.”
Unfortunately a hat trick by Potomac Falls junior Bradley Pierro – who scored in the 35th, 37th and 58th minutes – was overshadowed by Tuscarora’s comeback.
“Credit to Potomac Falls for getting on us, scoring so many goals and really playing well,” Gryder said. “I’m sure it’s not the way they want to go out.”
In a quick turnaround, Tuscarora will travel to Broad Run High School on Friday, May 22 to take on the Spartans in a Conference 14 semifinal.
“We have to take this and use this as momentum going forward. Build on this as a good feeling going forward,” Gryder said. “It’s going to be a challenge. Broad Run is definitely going to be a major challenge.”
15′ PF Edwin Jovel
19′ T Justin Carey (PK)
35′ PF Bradley Pierro
37′ PF Bradley Pierro
58′ PF Bradley Pierro
69′ T Justin Carey
74′ T Justin Carey (PK)
79′ T Carder Saul
96′ T Justin Carey
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Syracuse University where he earned a degree in broadcast and digital journalism. Before attending SU, Owen graduated from Heritage High School in Leesburg. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.