For the second time in three years, Crestwood was one of the last boys soccer teams standing in District 2, capturing its second title in three years.
Head coach David McFarland and assistant coach Stephen Molitoris.
The pair had just started this year as coaches for the Comets.
Crestwood avenged a loss to Dallas from last year’s District 2 Class 3A finals in a title rematch Wednesday night, rallying from a pair of one-goal deficits to win 3-2 in overtime.
“We were very fortunate to have a lot of talented players to begin with and a great history and tradition of playing well here,” Molitoris said.
One player McFarland made sure to credit after the win was junior Michael Ceklosky.
About half way through the overtime period, Ceklosky fired the ball through traffic, directly toward Dallas goalkeeper Kyle Greenwood, who struggled with the save and ended up fumbling the ball behind him, leading to the final goal.
“(Ceklosky) is a great player. He is very versatile so he can play many positions,” McFarland said. “He started this season as a forward, but then we moved him to center back because we needed him there. He is still trying to figure everything out, but he has a lot of skills and is well-rounded.”
There was no immediate call or whistle to end the game, considering the ball just barely crossed the goal line.
“At first, we all thought it was a goal across the line and then the ref didn’t blow the whistle or anything, so we thought, ‘Is it a goal?’ ” Crestwood junior Sean Murphy said. “So we finally saw the sideline ref hold up his hands to stop the clock and end it, and we all just went crazy then.”
McFarland’s entry to Crestwood involved a new dynamic for him: coaching high school soccer players. He did not know what to expect at the high-school level after spending the last three years as an assistant coach at Wilkes University. In addition to his transition to the school, Crestwood graduated one of their top players, Kyle Gegaris, who was named the 2016 Times Leader Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
“I could tell that all of these guys are very skilled,” McFarland said. “We didn’t have that one player that stood as being able to dribble through the whole team, so my main objective was to make a passing team. I wanted them to be able to pass the ball and be efficient rather than focus on individual skills, and that is something we tried to do ever since we took over.”
For a cold and drizzly night, Crestwood’s late equalizer extended the game into overtime forcing Dallas to keep competing. During the break in between the second half and overtime, Dallas looked cold while Crestwood stood together jumping and chanting.
The Comets had regained their composure before entering overtime, or at least it seemed that way.
“Let’s say we didn’t panic, and I say that with a big smile on my face,” McFarland said. “We were panicking a little bit because it was such a close game. With two minutes on the clock, we were losing and we tied the game to go into overtime.”
“I get nervous out there too, so it’s tough,” Murphy added.
McFarland has to give the players credit for the team’s success this season.
He describes them as a perfect, great group of guys. He mentioned that he always has to tell reporters that the whole team is working really hard. Whether it is the player who starts the game or the someone who doesn’t play very much, they still work extremely hard at practice.
Moving forward, Murphy said, “I think we’re going to go pretty far in states, and hopefully we can win the state title.”