Thanks to some good tournament work, the Vernon Verona Sherrill and Oneida boys soccer teams got to meet on Labor Day weekend.
And the finals of the Sherburne-Earlville Tournament on Sept. 5 proved to be exciting, with the Red Devils getting a goal in the final minute of regulation to beat the Indians 1-0.
This game brought a vivid illustration of the glory and frustration of soccer, in that one team can have a majority of the good scoring chances, yet still get beat because it can't take full advantage of them.
Oneida and VVS played through most of the first half in a quiet manner before the Indians got some glorious chances. In the 32nd minute, Sam Adams had a free kick from 35 yards out, only to see it go wide, and Connor LoMonaco saw some close chances get pushed away to keep it 0-0 at the half.
The Red Devils' best shot came in a strange sequence where Nick Heintz headed the ball off goalie Neil Parry's arm toward the net. When an Oneida defender tried to kick the ball away, he hit it off his own goal post, but Parry still managed to cover the ball.
Both defenses proved stingy in the second half, rarely allowing chances as the game appeared headed for overtime.
But with 52 seconds left in regulation, VVS forward Kevin Sayles got open near the Oneida net, then took a hard shot that flew past Parry into the net, giving the Red Devils the win.
VVS had beaten host Sherburne-Earlville 3-1 in the first round on Sept. 4, while Oneida topped Ilion by that same 3-1 margin behind David Rougeux's pair of goals.
In girls action, VVS began Tri-Valley League play with a flourish, blanking Holland Patent by a 4-0 margin.
Twice, Brittani Edwards found the net, leading a potent Red Devils attack. Ashley Levatino had one goal and one assist, with Belle Saville also finding the net. Megan Reed also had an assist.
Oneida's girls ran into Clinton, falling to the Warriors 3-1. Clinton had a 2-0 lead when Jenn Rougeux scored midway through the second half off a feed from Melissa Murawski to get the Indians on the board, but Erika Shankman (who had scored earlier) notched a second goal with 12 minutes left to clinch it for Clinton.