On Tuesday night, April 20, at Monroe-Woodbury High School, the Crusaders and the Bushmen of Pine Bush High School locked horns in an epic Section 9 title game.
The third-seeded Crusaders entered the game after defeating the second-seeded Wildcats of Warwick while the fourth-seeded Bushmen got to the championship game after knocking off the number one seeded Goldbacks of Newburgh.
The Bushmen struck first eight minutes into the game when Louie Gonzalez scored on shot across the front of the net to give his team a 1-0 lead.
The Crusaders answered ten minutes later when Tenmettey Tetteh-Nartey got the ball to Trevor Lagarde who popped it past the Bushmen’s goalie to knot the score at 1.
The Crusaders took the lead with 16:43 left in the half when Lagarde put the ball high into the box where Connor McSherry outbattled a defender and the goalie to score the go-ahead goal.
Late in the second half Pine Bush tied the score when David Acquah scored on a nice shot from just outside the box into the upper part of the Crusader net.
But the Crusaders answered three minutes later when McSherry’s shot hit the Pine Bush cross bar and Eric Shippee beat the defender to the rebound and put the ball into the net to give the Crusaders a 3-2 lead.
The Bushmen didn’t give up. With just 2:21 left in the game Acquah scored again after a throw-in from the sideline. He let go a perfect shot that some how found the corner of the Crusader net to tie the score at 3.
The two tired teams battled through the first overtime with no score.
In the second overtime, the Crusaders hit the Bushmen’s post after a scramble off a corner kick but the ball stayed out.
So the score remained tied at three apiece.
The game was now to be decided by penalty kicks, first Lagarde scored for Monroe then Crusader goalie Joe Badalamente made a beautiful diving save on the Bushmen’s penalty kick.
The Crusaders and the Bushmen then traded penalty kicks.
Until Crusader Ethan Meyers stepped to the line, that is.
He delivered a perfect drive into the Bushmen’s goal to give the Crusaders the Section 9 AA title.
His goal then set off a wild celebration as the Crusader players and fans rushed on to the field to celebrate.
- William Dimmit