CHESHIRE -- It wasn't exactly how they planned it, but the Hoosac Valley boys' soccer team won the South Division crown on Thursday afternoon.
Entering the game against Lee, the Hurricanes were the only team that could get more than 12 points on the season. If the Wildcats won, it could have set up a three-way tie between the Hurricanes, Lee and St. Joseph's. But Hoosac put an end to all of the different theories by hanging on for a 2-2 tie for their 13th point in the division.
"This game is a tie, but we won the season, that's what counts," senior Nick Ryan said. "We just move on from here and carry it into the tournament."
The divisional crown caps off a season-long turnaround from the Hurricanes, who won just one game a season ago.
"It got us our 13 points, that's all we needed and it didn't matter how we did it," goalkeeper Tom Galisa said. "After having 56 goals against last year, this feels pretty dang good."
After arriving late, the Wildcats started the game on fire. The Wildcats needed to win out to have a shot at the title. Lee carried momentum and flow of play for the first 10 minutes. The upbeat tempo forced Hoosac coach Camilo Bermudez to call a time out just 13 minutes into the game.
Hoosac struck for the first goal of the game after the time out when Ryan crossed the ball through the 18-yard box over Lee's Heamon Willams and to a wide open Shaun Knapp, who gently tapped it in for a 1-0 lead.
"I think our guys just came out too amped up," Bermudez said. "Once we scrapped the goal together we slowed down and tried to stretch it out."
The Hurricanes took the lead into halftime, despite being outshot 8-6 in the first half. Galisa was forced to make seven saves, most of which came on diving plays.
"I just made the saves that I had to make. I really wanted to get the job done for the guys," Galisa said. "This came down to grit and who wanted it more. Apparently, we both wanted it the same, but we only needed the one point."
Galisa wasn't able to duplicate his perfect first half, as he faced seven more shots in the second half and was only able to stop five of them.
John Graziano and Jake LePrevost had the markers for Lee in the second half.
Ryan had the only Hoosac goal in the second half, coming on a penalty kick with 31 minutes to play. He was taken down in the box by a Lee defender to get the call.
It was one of many calls that got the attention from at least one of the coaching staffs.
"To have a PK given there and then not given to us on the same play down here, I mean it is what is," Lee coach Matt Kolmer said. "They did what they had to in order to get the points they needed, and at the end of the day we didn't. We missed four or five good opportunities to score. As bad as the officiating was, it's still on us to get it done at the end of the day."
LePrevost's goal came with just five minutes to play after Hoosac had attempted to pull personnel back and focus on defense.
"[Lee] was just composed, they held it together better and they played a solid game," Bermudez said. "They just weren't able to get the bounces."
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