OT Goal Puts Eagles In District Title Game

Brentwood players mob teammate Aro Ntatin after he scored in overtime to help beat Crossroads in the district semifinals on Oct. 21 at Principia. (All photos by Steve Bowman)
Brentwood players mob teammate Aro Ntatin after he scored in overtime to help beat Crossroads in the district semifinals on Oct. 21 at Principia. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Ntatin scores game-winner to beat favored Crossroads

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Five minutes had passed since his game-winning goal against Crossroads, and Aro Ntatin was still out of breath. That’s how big his shot was in sudden-death overtime last Wednesday at Principia’s McCandless Field. It advanced the Brentwood High School soccer team to the district title game for the first time in more than five years.

“It was so great,” the junior forward said, still gulping for air after his teammates had mobbed him on the field. “Man, I was happy.”

BHS lost 4-0 on the following night in the district championship against top-seeded Principia.

Brentwood's Eddie Wright (right) stays a half-step ahead of George Nichols.
Brentwood’s Eddie Wright (right) stays a half-step ahead of George Nichols.

Taking control in OT

The Eagles had led twice in regulation but the Current tied it both times, sending it into overtime on Daniel Hudson’s penalty kick with 7 minutes 56 seconds left.

The last team to score often has the momentum in OT, but it took BHS only 5 minutes to find an opening. Quinn Evans had the ball near midfield when he saw Ntatin breaking toward the net with no defenders close. The pass caught up with Ntatin 30 yards from the goal and he closed to within 10 yards of goalkeeper Tyler Doll. A millisecond before sweeper Peter Hamilton arrived to disrupt the shot, Ntatin punched the ball to the right. Doll dived for it but it would have taken a pro to stop such a close shot.

The play was no happy accident.

“Their sweeper was even with me and was going to step to Quinn and I told Quinn to send it,” said Ntatin. “I just ran, it kept going and their sweeper almost caught up to me so I shot it and it went in.”

In this photo and the one below, Aro Ntatin scores in overtime on an assist from Quinn Evans to end the game. The goalkeeper is Tyler Doll.
In this photo and the one below, Aro Ntatin scores in overtime on an assist from Quinn Evans to end the game. The goalkeeper is Tyler Doll.

DSC_4789 Aro Ntatin winning goal in OT

‘Best win in my life’

The win felt like vindication for a Brentwood team that believed its record didn’t reflect how good it was. It entered the playoffs 9-11 overall, 0-2 to Crossroads and two places behind the Current in the final league standings. Add to that the overtime loss to Crossroads in the district semifinals last year, plus failure to make it to the district title game since before these seniors were freshmen.

“It feels great,” said Brentwood coach Cory Grage. “We knew we could play with them. The last time we played them, the 2-0 loss, we didn’t think we played a 2-0 game with them, we played a lot better than that.”

“This is probably the best win I’ve ever had in my life,” said senior Seamus Saunders. “This is as good as it gets. Last year we took them to overtime. I scored that goal to tie it up 1-1, then we lost it in the shootout. But this, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

Said senior Eddie Wright, “This is the best victory to be a part of. We’ve never beaten them in my high school career. We just kept the intensity up the whole game. If you do that you can beat anybody.”

Said Evans, a junior, “What a game. It’s for sure the best game I’ve ever played in so far.”

For scoring the winning goal, Aro Ntatin is congratulated by teammates (from left) Marcos Sanchez, Seamus Saunders, Quinn Evans and Eddie Wright.
For scoring the winning goal, Aro Ntatin is congratulated by teammates (from left) Marcos Sanchez, Seamus Saunders, Quinn Evans and Eddie Wright.

First-half lead

Brentwood made only two direct shots on goalkeeper Doll in the first half. Mahoto Sasaki took the first one 15 minutes in and Doll stopped it. Three minutes later, 22:14 before halftime, Evans took a pass from Ntatin and made it 1-0.

“I saw Aro head it, received the ball and I wasn’t off sides,” said Evans. “I just went for the pass and, yeah, I can’t remember the rest.”

“It was three or four just beautiful, unselfish passes right in a row,” said Grage. “Any of those guys could have taken the shot leading up to Quinn getting the ball. I thought Eddie was going to take it, then I thought Aro was going to take it. Come to find out Quinn was standing wide open right in the middle of the field.”

Quinn Evans (left) and Aro Ntatin start a drive in front of Peter Hamilton of Crossroads in the first half.
Quinn Evans (left) and Aro Ntatin start a drive in front of Peter Hamilton of Crossroads in the first half.

Mahoto strikes

Kellen King tied the score for Crossroads midway through the second half, but 5:30 later Mahoto Sasaki put BHS up 2-1 off an assist by Evans.

“It was Quinn working hard down on the baseline and passing the ball,” said Grage. “Mo [Mahoto] received it, turned beautifully and got that half step that you need sometimes.”

Immediately after the game, Sasaki wasn’t yet certain that it was Evans who had made the pass.

“Someone just crossed it in and I got a foot on it, I settled it, and the sweeper wasn’t guarding me so I shot it and it went in the goal,” said Sasaki. “It felt amazing.”

Mahoto Sasaki is cheered by teammates after scoring for a 2-1 Brentwood lead with 12:57 left in the game.
Mahoto Sasaki is cheered after scoring for a 2-1 Brentwood lead with 12:57 left in the game. His teammates are (from left) Marcos Sanchez, Neal Bhattacharya(15), Quinn Evans and Joey Dreyer (12).

The PK

Five minutes later, Crossroads was awarded a penalty kick when it was determined that Jake Burkhardt had gone through a player to reach the ball in front of his goal. With 7:56 left in the game, Daniel Hudson, with 10 goals on the season, put the ball past Justin Redfering to make it 2-2.

Redfering made two more diving saves to send the game into overtime. During the break before the extra period, Grage told his team that they had outplayed the Current thus far.

“We felt we sort of gifted them a couple of goals,” said Grage. “The long, long goal which, those sorts of flukes happen. And then what we thought was not a legitimate PK. We sort of provided them the goals so we stressed that. We said let’s not make the mistakes to give them goals anymore.”

Justin Redfering pauses for a moment after Daniel Hudson of Crossroads ties the score with a penalty kick with 7:56 left in the game.
Justin Redfering pauses for a moment after Daniel Hudson of Crossroads ties the score with a penalty kick with 7:56 left in the game.

Defensive victory

A key part of the victory was holding the Current scoreless for the first 62 minutes of the game. Part of it was the play of senior goalkeeper Redfering, who ended with 12 saves. Part of it was being physical elsewhere on the pitch.

“For the first time we just did a good job of moving the ball and keeping possession,” said Saunders. “We just stayed on them, played them tight because they got frustrated when we played them physical. They kept complaining to each other and to the refs. That was the big thing. Just get them out of their game, really get on them.”

The Eagles ended the season at 10-12 but outscored opponents 40-32 and lost to only two fellow Class 1 schools. Having lost by either one or two goals nine times, the final 4-0 defeat by Principia was the season’s only blowout.

“We’re consistent across the field,” explained Grage. “Everybody is a decent athlete, everybody is a good player. We don’t have the holes that have been exploited in the past. By not having those things it’s made things a lot easier in terms of making sure we’re never getting blown out.”

Goalkeeper Jordan McGehee dives to stop a ball in warmups. He didn't play against Crossroads but was the starter in numerous games this season.
Goalkeeper Jordan McGehee dives to stop a ball in warmups. He didn’t play against Crossroads but was the starter in numerous games this season.
Neal Bhattacharya (right) fights for position with Nick Drake of Crossroads.
Neal Bhattacharya (right) fights for position with Nick Drake of Crossroads.
Marcos Sanchez (right) and Daniel Hudson collide in the first half.
Marcos Sanchez (right) and Daniel Hudson collide in the first half.
In this photo and the one below, BHS goalkeeper Justin Redfering and teammate Jake Burkhardt (left) stop Ethan Lutjens of Crossroads from heading the ball into the net in the first half.
In this photo and the one below, BHS goalkeeper Justin Redfering and teammate Jake Burkhardt (left) stop Ethan Lutjens of Crossroads from heading the ball into the net in the first half.

DSC_4341 Justin Redfering, Ethan Lutjens, 1st

Moments after the action in the two photos above, Crossroads attacks again but Alex Smoller and Justin Redfering stop the shot.
Moments after the action in the two photos above, Crossroads attacks again but Alex Smoller and Justin Redfering stop the shot.
In this photo and the one below, Mike Mills clears the ball from in front of his goal as Daniel Hudson of Crossroads approaches.
In this photo and the one below, Mike Mills clears the ball from in front of his goal as Daniel Hudson of Crossroads approaches.

DSC_4388 Mike Mills, Daniel Hudson, 1st

Sean Reilly (right) stops the dribble of Crossroads's George Nichols.
Brentwood’s Sean Reilly (right) disrupts the dribble of George Nichols.
Joey Dreyer (right) and Sean Reilly surround a Crossroads player.
Joey Dreyer (right) and Sean Reilly surround a Crossroads player.
Seamus Saunders is between Marcus Tegstrom (left) and Nick Drake.
Seamus Saunders works between Marcus Tegstrom (left) and Nick Drake.
Aro Ntatin finds it hard to get to the net between Ivan Boyers (left) and Daniel Hudson.
Aro Ntatin finds it hard to get to the net between Ivan Boyers (left) and Daniel Hudson.
Neal Bhattacharya (right) tries to break toward the goal but Ivan Boyers gets in his way.
Brentwood’s Neal Bhattacharya (right) tries to break toward the goal but Ivan Boyers gets in his way.
Marcos Sanchez strips the ball from Dominic Rubio of Crossroads.
Marcos Sanchez strips the ball from Dominic Rubio of Crossroads.
Justin Redfering stops the ball in front of Crossroads forward Milton Green in the first half.
Justin Redfering stops the ball before Milton Green of Crossroads can shoot.
Sean Reilly heads the ball away from Daniel Shabsin of Crossroads.
Sean Reilly heads the ball away from Daniel Shabsin of Crossroads.
Brentwood coach Cory Grage talks to players at halftime.
With a 1-0 lead, Brentwood coach Cory Grage speaks at halftime. Also standing are Blake Lawrence (14), Mike Mills (19) and assistant coach Rob Doebber.
After being hit by an elbow in the first half, Marcos Sanchez hopes his nose will stop bleeding by the end of halftime. It didn't but he played the rest of the game with tissues stuffed in his nose. Assistant coach Brian Wildgrube stands with him.
After being hit by an elbow in the first half, Marcos Sanchez hopes his nose will stop bleeding by the end of halftime. It didn’t but he played the rest of the game with tissues stuffed in his nose. Assistant coach Brian Wildgrube stands with him.
Mahoto Sasaki (left) and Dominic Rubio of Crossroads.
Mahoto Sasaki (left) and Dominic Rubio of Crossroads.
Quinn Evans (left) of Brentwood and Peter Hamilton.
Quinn Evans (left) of Brentwood and Peter Hamilton.
Brentwood's Alex Reidel (left) pursues Peter Hamilton in the second half.
Brentwood’s Alex Reidel (left) pursues Peter Hamilton in the second half.
Seamus Saunders (right) gets in another tight squeeze with Crossroads's Gabe Felsher (left) and Daniel Hudson.
Seamus Saunders (right) gets in another tight squeeze with Crossroads’s Gabe Felsher (left) and Daniel Hudson.
Cristian Sanchez (left) of Brentwood defends against Gabe Felsher.
Cristian Sanchez (left) of Brentwood defends against Gabe Felsher.
Alex Smoller (left) guards LaRenzo St. Clair of Crossroads.
Alex Smoller (left) guards LaRenzo St. Clair of Crossroads.
Marcos Sanchez flies over Crossroads goalkeeper Tyler Doll.
Marcos Sanchez flies over Crossroads goalkeeper Tyler Doll.
Awaiting the ball are (from left)
Awaiting the ball are (from left) Sean Reilly, Alex Smoller, Cristian Sanchez and Justin Redfering of Brentwood and LaRenzo St. Clair.
Justin Redfering stops the ball as Daniel Hudson arrives, covered by Jake Burkhardt.
Justin Redfering stops the ball as Daniel Hudson arrives, accompanied by Jake Burkhardt.
Cristian Sanchez pursues Ivan Boyers of Crossroads.
Cristian Sanchez pursues Ivan Boyers of Crossroads in the second half.
Justin Redfering stops an attack from Homer Dula, the last save before the overtime period.
Justin Redfering stops an attack from Homer Dula, the last save before the overtime period.
Brentwood's Jake Burkhardt is slow to get up after a collision in the overtime period.
Brentwood’s Jake Burkhardt is slow to get up after a collision in the overtime.
Mike Mills (19) and Jake Burkhardt (right) join the celebration.
Celebrating with Aro Ntatin after he scored the winning goal 5 minutes into overtime are (from left) Marcos Sanchez, Mike Mills and Jake Burkhardt. In the three photos below the entire team joins the party.

DSC_4810 Team celebrates winning

DSC_4814 Team celebrates winning

DSC_4815 Team celebrates winning

Brentwood players applaud their fans and vice versa.
Brentwood players applaud their fans, who happily applaud them back.

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