Polk, Hendo tie in match, conference title
Polk County traveled to Hendersonville for what, at the high school level, would be considered a battle of epic proportions.
The game didnt disappoint the fans.Regulation and overtimes ended in a 1-1 tie, but the Wolverines won the battle for the most important thing.
A higher seed in the playoffs.
The match began much like the first match of the season, but in reverse. At Polk County, the Bearcats struck with a quick goal.
The Wolverines avenged that quick goal Wednesday.
A throw-in found Heath Culbreths head. Culbreth sent it sailing to the other side of the goal, where Benny Romans foot found the ball and sent into the back of the net.
The Wolverine fans went crazy.
And then the first long stalemate began. But with 24:11 left in the first half, the Bearcats broke the stalemate scoring a goal on Wolverine goalie Hugo Santos.
There wouldnt be another goal for the rest of the game as the two teams battled back and forth, each goalie making both solid and miraculous saves.
Rules in soccer allow for two ten-minute overtime periods to follow regulation in the event of a tie. Both of those periods past with no goals.
After a long conversation at midfield between the referees, coaches and athletic directors, the decision was made to declare conference a tie, ensuring Polk a sixth straight conference championship. The main decision, however, was for the seeding in the playoffs to be determined by penalty kicks.
The two teams battled for penalty kick supremacy. Tony Sciuva and Davie Abril both punched in Polks first two goals. The Wolverines made their first three and then the Bearcat goalie blocked Russell McIntyres attempt. Santo responded with a block of his own. The Bearcat goalie then blocked Cole Weickers shot, but Santos made another diving grab. The Bearcats only got one more goal past Santos and the Wolverines got two straight goals from Valentin Santos and Benny Roman.
That left the drama down to Heath Culbreth and the senior shined. Culbreth put a shot past the goalie to the left and the Wolverines fans rushed the field.
When I saw it hit the net, I couldnt think about anything but running back to my teammates, he said.
But Santos came up huge down the stretch as well with key blocks through the game and during the penalty kick session.
It was intense, he said. I just guessed one way and went with it.
But the Wolverines dont have the No. 1 seed yet. They had to play Mitchell last night. Results werent available by press time.
But Wednesday nights game was a classic soccer battle, head coach Lennox Charles said.
Thats what its all about, he said. Having somebody step up and make the difference.(Our team) plays hard and just works.