Al Loucks' inspired revival of the West Genesee boys soccer program lives on - at least into the semifinals of the Section III Class AA playoffs.
Two quick goals in the middle of the second half made the difference as the no. 5 seed Wildcats upended no. 4 seed Christian Brothers Academy 2-0 Thursday night in the AA quarterfinals at Alibrandi Stadium.
The only reason WG was playing on the road was because it had lost its regular-season finale to Rome Free Academy 6-5 on Oct. 22. Had the Wildcats won, it would have played at home in Camillus, on a grass field, instead of CBA's fast turf.
Thus, it took a while for the Wildcats to acclimate itself to the new surface. Still, during a 0-0 first half its defense showed vast improvement.
Back-line players Cody Faulkner, Jake Levine, Anthony Payne, Kyle Burke and Tim Ritch formed strong protection, not exposing goalie Dylan Condon to any serious danger. At thr fe same time, even though it had a decided wind advantage, the Wildcats could not put together many sustained attacks and found the ball difficult to control.
As the second half began, WG found itself played into the same gusty wind. But 2:35 into the half, Jake Sutherland charged in and caught CBA goalie Dave Anderson going too far. Sutherland had an open net to target, and hit it too hard, the ball sailing over the crossbar.
Minutes later, Kris Triana charged in for the Brothers, but slid his shot just wide right. Another big chance came in the 54th minute as Bojan Topalovic, from the right side, screamed a shot that Anderson had to dive to stop.
All this built to the events of the 61st minute. Taking possession at midfield, Stefanos Stamoulacatos picked up speed and dribbled past two CBA defenders as he went to his left. From 20 yards out, Stamoulacatos struck a left-footed dart past Anderson inside the top right corner of the net, a shot nearly impossible to stop, and WG had the lead.
Just four minutes, Topalovic returned, moving down the same side of the field from where he just missed earlier in the half. This time, echoing what Stamoulacatos had done, Topalovic used his right foot to smash a shot inside the top left corner of the net, out of Anderson's reach for the insurance goal.
Condon made his best stop with 8:50 left, diving to tip away Jack Johnston's close-in shot, and he stopped Kris Triana's hard shot with 6:25 to play to preserve the shutout. Overall, Condon had 10 saves.