TOLEDO – And just like that, it was over. Forcing overtime against the higher-seeded Maumee Valley Country Day team that defeated them 7-4 way back in late August, Pettisville’s run in the Division III boys soccer tournament ended just 45 seconds into the extra session when Mujahid Abdel-Ghani scored his team leading 39th goal of the year to send the Hawks to a 2-1 win over the Blackbirds.
“The gameplan coming in was to eliminate their 10 (Abdel-Ghani),” said Pettisville coach Barnaby Wyse. “We did a great job of eliminating their 10. I felt like in the counter, we had an advantage.
“They fought hard,” Wyse added about his team. “The first result was 7-4. We came out, did what we were supposed to, had a gameplan and thought we could come out on top.”
Maumee Valley had first touch in overtime and sent the ball deep. Coming off a throw-in, a group of players stayed in front of the net, and in the confusion Abdel-Ghani was able to fire the game-winner.
“It’s a melee in front of the box, as it often is,” Wyse said, describing the final play of the game. “The rebound came off and they had a kid kick it in.”
Pettisville took a 1-0 lead inside the first minute of the game. Using great individual effort, Detric Yoder was knocked down, got up, and when the Maumee Valley keeper was going to play the ball, deposited it into the net for the lead.
“Detric doesn’t fall very well so it’s hard for him to get penalty kicks,” stated Wyse. “He’s so balanced so they can just beat on him, get real physical with him. That’s been his struggle, teams can do whatever they want to him in the box.”
The 1-0 lead lasted until 1:53 to play in the half when the Hawks scored off a free kick.
“Our Achilles heel has been defending the set piece,” admitted Wyse. “They were able to score off that one.”
The Blackbirds had a couple of tries off corner kicks in the second half but could not find the back of the net.
Pettisville ends the season 8-5-3.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org