MEDINA — “Entertainingly arrogant” is what Bay coach Robert Dougherty calls midfielder Shane Williams. Tuesday night he could also be called “hero”.
Before a standing room only crowd, estimated to be over 1,000 strong, the sophomore’s penalty kick ended the sudden death shootout and gave Bay a 2-1 Division II regional semifinal victory over Medina Highland at the Soccer Stadium in Medina.
The win advances Bay (16-3-1) to the regional final Saturday at 3 p.m., against Napolean (17-3-1) in Ashland at the Ashland Community Soccer stadium.
“(Monday) in training he put the penalty kick right down the middle of the goal,” said Dougherty. “After he made it he said he did it because he is better than he (the goalkeeper) is. I told him that he better back that up.
“So before he went out there tonight for the shot I told him he was taking the shot because he was better than he (the Highland goalkeeper) is. Shane said okay and went out and did it.”
Williams winning PK was actually the first of the sudden death portion of the shootout and the sixth overall. The teams made an equal number of penalty kicks in the first shootout to advance to the first-in, first-to miss, winner-take-all portion of the game.
Highland (17-3-0) took the first shot of the second shootout. Junior Eric Duale, who also doubles as kicker for the football team, sent his ball wide left of the goal and Bay keeper Nate McDonald to set up Williams’ opportunity.
“There was a lot of pressure as I was walking out there,” said Williams. “It was nice having Highland miss their kick so it took a little pressure off. But, I still felt the weight of everything on my shoulders.
“I’ve been working on the PK down the center of the goal for a couple of weeks now. So when I went out there, coach told me that’s where he wanted me to put it.”
Shane’s shot ended a thrilling game between two solid and evenly matched teams. Although it was 0-0 at halftime, it was nearly 1-0 in favor of Bay. With 17.3 seconds left in the half, Aaron Adkins fed the ball to Bobby Olson who shot it past Highland keeper Justin Nolan. However, the referee called off sides on Adkins to nullify the goal.
“Aaron is so fast even standing next to him you are already three steps back,” said Dougherty. “I thought it was a good move on his part but the referee saw it the other way.”
Highland got on the board four minutes into the second half on a corner kick by Graham Stec that was shot into the back of the goal by Ryan Florian. Twelve minutes later, Bay tied it up on a corner kick of its own. Bobby Olson took the feed from Kyle Hyland to tie the score at 1-1. From that point the teams battled to a 1-1 regulation tie. Two fifteen minute overtimes didn’t solve anything as neither team was able to capitalize on limited opportunities. The first shootout saw both teams accomplish a rare feat in which they each made all five of their attempts to set up Williams’ heroics.
“It’s a tough loss, no doubt about it,” said Highland coach Billy Zufall. “We battled out there for eighty minutes and then another 30 in overtime. We had opportunities but we weren’t able to put them into the net.
“It’s just a tough way to lose after playing a solid game.”
Despite the win, Dougherty is no fan of the penalty shot finale either.
“It’s not a way to end the game,” said Dougherty. “We lost the state final in 2005 penalty kicks. It’s unfortunate because they can’t figure it internationally, nationally or at the high school level. We have 22 players out here and I would rather we just play until someone scores.
“If it takes all night so be it. Players on both teams left everything they have out there and to have it end like this is tough. We’ll take the win but I wish there was a better way to end it.”
Contact Hans Schneider at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
Bay 2, Highland 1
GOALS: (B) Bobby Olson (56th minute). (H) Ryan Florian (44th minute).
ASSISTS: (B) Kyle Hyland. (H) Graham Stec.
SHOTS: Bay 2, Highland 8.
SHOTS ON FRAME: Bay 11, Highland 11.
SAVES: (B) Nate McDonald 10. (H) Justin Nolan 9.
CORNER KICKS: Bay 7, Highland 3.
GOAL KICKS: Bay 10, Highland 8.
OFFSIDES: Bay 2, Highland 1.
HAND BALLS: Bay 1, Highland 3.
OTHER INFRACTIONS: Bay 11, Highland 14.