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Bears Overcome 3-Goal Deficit on Wild Senior Night

October 22, 2017

On Friday night, in one of the wildest soccer games in recent memory, the boys’ soccer team overcame a 1-4 halftime deficit to storm back and beat the Knox School, 7-4, on Senior Night.

In a pre-season scrimmage between the Bears and Falcons on August 31st, Knox got on the board first before the Bears came back to win 4-2. Last night the Falcons again drew first blood in the fifth minute, but the Bears were unable to respond as quickly as they did in the late summer scrimmage. Less than two minutes later, Knox’s speedy forward struck again to give the Falcons a 2-0 edge. At the 26:33 mark, Jai Narain halved the deficit when he found the back of the net after corralling a crossbar ricochet off the foot of Mo Romeus, but Knox would only extend the lead from there.

The Bears had several chances to equalize, but missed opportunities and several impressive stops from the Knox keeper kept the Bears at bay. Instead it was the Falcons who were able to capitalize, pushing their lead to 3-1, to give their forward a hat trick, then to 4-1 by tucking away the rebound after Sam Han stopped a penalty kick. The two goals sent a charge through the sizable Knox crowd and carried the Falcons to a commanding 4-1 lead at the break.

For most teams a three-goal deficit would be insurmountable, but climbing out of a three-score hole is not uncharted territory for the boys’ soccer team. In 2014 they overcame a pair of three-goal deficits in victories over Port Jeff and Greenport. As the second half began the Bears dominated the time of possession and had several scoring chances but either put the ball wide or forced an impressive stop from the netminder. It would have been very easy for the boys to become bogged down by frustration, which every missed opportunity or unfavorable call threatened to magnify. Instead, the Bears showed tremendous strength of mind and character to continue to battle and persevere, setting the stage for a thrilling comeback.

The Bears began their journey back with 27:28 left in the game. David Wadding stole the ball in the Knox backfield and touched the ball to Chris Swiatek who found a wide open Owen Sobel just outside the box. The sophomore sent a lefty shot past the keeper to bring the Brook within 2-4. Less than two minutes later the Bears struck again as Tiger Winston sent a beautiful ball to an open Narain who drilled a shot off the keeper before sending a lefty volley into the net to bring the Blue Fan Group back to life. The Bears continued to dominate possession and ten minutes later Narain beautifully redirected a Wadding throw-in to a wide open Sobel who also hit a shot off the keep before volleying home the ricochet to knot the game at 4-4 and silence the Knox fans.

The thrilling evening took a bizarre turn with nine minutes left when the sprinklers went off in the middle of the action, forcing a ten minute delay. When play resumed the Bears picked up where they left off. With 5:48 remaining, the Blue and White grabbed their first lead of the game when a Knox clear attempt ricocheted off the back of a Falcon and perfectly in front of Ian Blunt who tucked away his first career goal. The threat of Knox’s terrific forward still loomed, but Blunt sealed the win with 1:26 left, scoring a breakaway goal after artfully playing the offside trap. Blunt completed his hat trick in under six minutes, banging home a loose ball in front of the goal in the final second to cap the 7-4 victory.

With the non-league win the Bears finished the regular season 9-6 and moved to 3-0 all-time vs. the Falcons. They now enter the Suffolk County Class C tournament as the fourth seed. They will play the top-ranked Pierson Whalers at Pierson on Wednesday at 3:00pm.


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