The Abington boys soccer team was four minutes away from advancing to the quarterfinals of the Division 4 state tournament, as well as defeating a longtime nemesis.
Instead, their season ended in heartbreaking fashion Wednesday night. League rival Cohasset scored twice in the closing minutes of the game to send it to overtime and then netted the game winner with two minutes left in the extra period to escape with a 3-2 victory while a stunned Abington crowd watched on.
“Both teams worked extremely hard but unfortunately only one team can win,” said Green Wave Coach Brian Claus.
#9 Cohasset (9-8-2) defeated #8 Abington (11-7-2) 2-0 earlier in the season, but as Claus pointed out prior the game, that game took place before senior left midfielder Chris Ferreira had tallied a single goal. Ferriera had scored 12 goals since, and he would add two more Wednesday night to stake his Green Wave team to a 2-0 lead.
Late in the first half, Aiden Grafton sent Ferreira a long pass over the tough Cohasset defense. Ferreira used some nifty foot work to split a pair of defenders, create some space, and slide a shot past the Skipper keeper to open the scoring.
In the second half, Ferreira intercepted a ball in the Cohasset zone and from more than 30 years out fired an absolute missile into the corner of the net for his second goal and 2-0 Abington lead. Although it won’t show up in the stat sheet, the goal was made possible by Liam Murtagh, who aggressively pressured a Cohasset defender into making a bad pass that Ferriera easily stole.
For most of the game, the Green Wave defensive core of Cole Lindo, Andrew Dunlop, Jared Jernegen, and Ian Graf parried off a steady stream of long balls and runs by a fast Cohasset offense.
However, with less than four minutes to play, Cohasset was able to slide a ball across the front of the Green Wave goal where senior captain Aiden Mensching stood waiting to cut the lead in half.
And as the clock was winding down, the Green Wave failed to fully clear out a ball, which was volleyed by Ian Linhart past a diving Cam Cooper to tie the game up.
Cohasset largely controlled the attack during the 10-minute overtime period but it seemed like Abington would escape to a second overtime period. But with under two minutes left, Cohasset got a favorable bounce during a scramble off a throw in, and Ollie Axon, who had just substituted on, snuck a shot past an outstretched Cooper.
The senior-heavy Green Wave squad could only watch in tears as the Skippers poured onto the field to celebrate the golden goal and their unlikely tournament win.
In the far corner of the turf field, Claus gathered his devastated squad and told them how “immensely proud” he was of their season.
“Nobody expected us to do this,” he said after. “It’s heartbreaking. But you get to this end of the season and only one team ends with a win.”