HS SOCCER: Audino’s Goal Fuels Gregory The Great
SCRANTON — Like a clean-up hitter who squares up a fastball, Gregory the Great’s Anthony Audino knew he had something special the moment he made contact.
Driving toward the ball off a corner kick from Aidan Gibbons, Audino flicked a header that nestled inside the far, top corner of the net.
It snapped the tie Mountain View forged just four minutes earlier and gave the Highlanders the momentum to advance to Wednesday’s Class 1A title game with a 4-1 victory in a District 2 semifinal at the University of Scranton’s Fitzpatrick Field.
“As soon as my head touched the ball, I just had a really good feeling about it,” said Audino, who scored twice and assisted on another. “There’s nothing like it. It’s the best feeling.
“To be honest, it’s not really much with practice. It’s just having the mentality of, ‘I’m going to get to this ball and I’m not going to let anybody else get to it.’ ”
Highlanders coach Garrett van Beek has seen Audino make plays before, but this one was stunning.
“Oh my goodness, it was incredible,” van Beek said. “He’s always up in the action but that was a thing of beauty. I did not foresee that one coming off as beautifully as that.
“He takes risks. He’s a gamer. He likes going for the action. Eventually someone has to make their own luck, and he’s that player who gets up for games and he got the rewards. He won’t get them every time, but he’ll get them when it counts.”
He got the first one after Gregory the Great dominated for the first 30-plus minutes but was unable to score, thanks in large part to Mountain View goalie Connor Richmond, who finished with 13 saves, few of which were routine.
“He made some huge saves,” Mountain View coach Joe Scanlon said. “It’s what we’ve come to expect from Connor as a sophomore, and he’s going to be around for a couple more years and we’re happy to have him.”
Nothing Richmond could do about the first goal, which Declan O’Reilly crossed to Audino at about 10 yards out for a 1-0 lead at 33:28.
“I think (the goal) was really important just because we took a bad loss to Mountain View last year in the first round of districts,” Audino said. “It was really important we come out really on fire for this game. It was right to our game plan. We had that ball right across the top and I was in position.”
Despite outshooting Mountain View, 12-0, in the first 40 minutes, the lead was just 1-0, and the Eagles came out flying in the second half, tying the game when Riley Weida settled the ball about 12 yards out, turned and fired a shot just inside the post to tie the game at 42:11.
“We knew they were going to come back hard the second half, that proud soccer tradition that they have,” van Beek said.
But quickly, the Highlanders turned the momentum.
“I thought we gave ourselves a chance and then just a couple mental breakdowns defensively and they made us pay because they never stop coming,” Scanlon said. “You break down defensively and they’re going to score on you, and that’s what happened.
“They’re a resilient team. St. Gregory’s historically has never given up. They can be up goals, they can be down goals, they’re going to play the same way. Credit to them and their resiliency.”
Audino set up Eli Ziglinski for a hard shot deep in the box Richmond could only get a small piece of, increasing the lead to 3-1 in the 55th minute.
O’Reilly iced the victory with a marker off Max Valentine’s pass with just over five minutes remaining.
“This is huge for us, especially since these guys are pretty big rivals,” Audino said. “It was a much-needed win.”
Gregory the Great will have a chance to avenge a 5-1 regular-season loss to Forest City in the championship game. The Foresters edged Blue Ridge, 2-1, in double overtime.
Mountain View (8-7-1) 0 1 — 1 Gregory the Great (12-3-1) 1 3 — 4
FIRST HALF: Anthony Audino (GG) from Declan O’Reilly, 33:28. SECOND HALF: Riley Weida (MTV) unassisted, 42:11; Audino (GG) from Aidan Gibbons, 46:16; Eli Ziglinski (GG) from Audino, 54:47; O’Reilly (GG) from Max Valentine, 74:40.
Shots-corners: MTV 2-2, GG 26-6.
Saves: Connor Richmond (MTV) 13, Leo Wagner (GG) 1.
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Forest City 2, Blue Ridge 1, 2 OT
At Dunmore, Matthew Giles scored in the second overtime to lift No. 2 Forest City to a semifinal win.
Jay Lipko gave the Foresters a lead with a goal in the 48th minute. Tommy Gudykunst scored in the 72nd minute for No. 3 Blue Ridge.
Blue Ridge (12-6) 0 1 0 0 — 1 Forest City (12-4) 0 1 0 1 — 2
SECOND HALF: Jay Lipko (FC) from Tyler Clift, 48:00; Tommy Gudykunst (BR) unassisted, 72:00. SECOND OVERTIME: Matthew Giles (FC) unassisted, 106:00.
Shots-corners: BR 5-8, FC 13-6.
Saves: Eric Hall (BR) 7; Carmine Gigliotti (FC) 4.
Alec Buttner scored two goals to lead top-seeded Scranton Prep to a 3-2 win over No. 4 Meyers.
Spencer Keihl snapped a 1-1 tie in the second half with an unassisted score for the Cavaliers in the 50th minute, and Buttner added the game-winner in the 60th minute.
Scranton Prep will host the winner of today’s Wyoming Seminary at Lakeland game for the district title Wednesday.
Michael Krasnavage had two assists for Meyers.
Meyers (12-4-3) 1 1 — 2 Scranton Prep (14-2) 1 2 — 3
FIRST HALF: Alec Buttner (SP) from Kenny Kincel, :56; Ryan Casey (MEY) from Michael Krasnavage, 15:35. SECOND HALF: Spencer Keihl (SP) unassisted, 49:45; Buttner (SP) from Corbin White, 58:35; Raul Flores (MEY) from Krasnavage, 63:27.
Shots-corners: MEY 7-7, SP 19-12.
Saves: Joel Vasquez (MEY) 11; Colin Legg (SP) 4.
Hunter Sickler scored two goals to lead No. 3 Delaware Valley to a 5-0 win over No. 2 Hazleton Area in a District 2-4 subregional semifinal.
Owen Henry had a goal and an assist for the Warriors, who will play at top-seeded Williamsport for the subregional title Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Delaware Valley (8-11) 3 2 — 5 Hazleton Area (8-9-2) 0 0 — 0
FIRST HALF: Owen Henry (penalty kick), 17:19; Nick Kaylani from Henry, 26:14; Hunter Sickler from Mark Cavallaro, 27:36. SECOND HALF: Sickler unassisted, 42:17; Mason VanHorn from Isaac Yost, 47:35.
Shots-corners: DV 11-3, HAZ 5-2.
Saves: DV 5; HAZ 5.
Max Gariano scored two goals to give No. 1 Crestwood a 2-1 win over No. 4 Wallenpaupack in a semifinal game.
Peter McDermott scored for the Buckhorns and Derrick Vosburg had 12 saves.
Crestwood will play No. 2 Dallas for the district title Wednesday in a rematch of the last two district finals. The Mountaineers advanced with a 1-0 win over Wyoming Valley West.
Wallenpaupack (15-4-1) 0 1 — 1 Crestwood (18-1) 1 1 — 2
FIRST HALF: Max Gariano (CRE) from Hubert Herrera, 31:09. SECOND HALF: Gariano (CRE) from Herrera, 50:00; Peter McDermott (WAL) unassisted, 78:28.
Shots-corners: WAL 12-5, CRE 15-4.
Saves: Derrick Vosburg (WAL) 12; Chris Smith (CRE) 8.