FORT MILL — For the second time in four days, the third-ranked Northwestern Trojans and ninth-ranked Nation Ford Falcons boys’ soccer teams went head-to-head, but the outcome remained the same.
Northwestern edged Nation Ford 3-2 in overtime Tuesday, but this time around Region III-AAAA implications were at stake.
With about 37 second left in overtime, Trojans’ junior Connor Moore scored the game winner on a penalty kick.
“It’s a shame either team had to lose,” said Trojans coach Dom Wren. “Both teams know everything there is to know about each other.”
The two teams saw each other last Saturday in the Manchester Cup, which saw Northwestern win on penalty kicks. Because the game was somewhat of a glorified exhibition, it counted as a tie in the standings, since both teams let it stand that way after regulation, despite going ahead with penalty kicks.
“We played them a little bit better on Saturday,” said Falcons head coach Elton Ramey, “but I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. They put it all on the line tonight. They have come together this season like you wouldn’t believe.”
On Tuesday night, at Nation Ford, it was the Falcons which struck first.
While jockeying for position, neither team seemed to grab control early. That was until the Falcons got the best of Northwestern as junior Jonathan Strilka scored off a throw in to put Nation Ford up 1-0.
Despite the early goal, the Falcons didn’t start dominating as each team went right back trying to grab the upper hand. Northwestern played more aggressive after the goal and was able to control possession more.
The Trojans controlled possession early in the second half.
Falcons senior goalkeeper Josh Bruckner made 11 saves, including two big ones early in the overtime period.
Trojans junior Julian Welborn made took a pass and fired it to the right side of the goal before crashing into the post to tie the game at 1-1 about the 51 minute mark.
Welborn left the field under his own power and return shortly thereafter.
The Falcons answered back seven minutes later when senior Austin Huddy made a path down the left side of the field to score and put Nation Ford back up.
Northwestern then went on the attack and tried to up their aggressive play, but the Falcons matched the intensity.
The extra burst of energy helped as the Trojans eventually tied the game with about 11 minutes left on a breakaway from Austin Newman.
Nation Ford 2 OT
NF – Jonathan Strilka, 12:10
NW – Julian Welborn, 51:17
NF – Austin Huddy, 58:30
NW – Austin Newman, 69:55
NW – Connor Moore, 89:23
Shots on goals: Northwestern 14, Nation Ford 5.
Saves: Cody Jones (NW) 3, Josh Bruckner (NF) 11.
Corner kicks: Northwestern 6, Nation Ford 1.
Records: Northwestern 13-1-1, 10-0 Region III-AAAA; Nation Ford 8-4-1, 7-4 Region III-AAAA.