WRIGHT TWP. — Goal. No goal. Goal.
Crestwood forward Michael Ceklosky sent a shot through traffic toward the Dallas goal. The ball wasn’t immediately covered up, and before it was, it rolled just over the line.
The reaction to the play was slow. It wasn’t originally clear whether or not Ceklosky had scored.
The three referees huddled for a quick conference. In a matter of seconds one the referee’s arms shot up. Goal.
Ceklosky had done it. The junior scored with just over nine minutes remaining in overtime to give the Comets a 3-2 victory over Dallas, securing the program’s second District 2 Class 3A boys soccer title in three years and a spot in the upcoming state tournament.
“I watched it the whole way and then I just watched the ref and as soon as he signalled I went crazy and saw my friends,” Ceklosky said of the goal. “The guy on the line, we didn’t know what exactly he was signalling because he was a little unclear. So we were a bit scared at that, but then he got it.”
“My heart dropped. I got scared,” Crestwood junior Sean Murphy added. “It was just awesome, though, to live through it.”
As the game progressed, it had a similar feel to the last time these two teams met, in the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 Championship Game on Oct. 11.
The Comets once again faced a one-goal deficit at the half, thanks to a goal from Dallas’ Beaudyn Lewis on a direct kick. But like the Division 1 title game, Crestwood responded. However, this time the Comets would need to answer the bell twice. And they did.
“We just keep fighting no matter what and we think we’re going to get the W and we do,” Murphy said.
Max Gariano sent an impressive shot from 30 yards out that went off the crossbar and in to tie the game up 1-1 with 30:31 remaining. But with with time running out and facing another one-goal deficit, after Nate Maransky’s strike at 16:20, Murphy was in the right place at the right time.
Crestwood sent in a corner kick near the Dallas net that was punched out of the box by the Mountaineers. Ceklosky found the ball and booted it back into the box where Murphy took the pass, made a move to avoid a slide by Dallas goalkeeper Kyle Greenwood and took a shot to tie the game 2-2 with 1:28 remaining in regulation.
“Honestly, I was going to shoot it, but I knew we had Sean Murphy and I know he always puts it in. So I just flicked it in there,” Ceklosky said. “Sean always puts it in.”
Even though the Comets had to overcome a pair of deficits, David McFarland had a good feeling when his team gathered during the stoppage before overtime. It felt like his team had the momentum.
His huddle was fired up after the late goal and ready for whatever came next. Little did they know it would be a district championship plaque and state playoff game in District 2 against the third seed from District 3, which will be Hershey or Greencastle-Antrim.
“That’s something our team really benefits from. It’s like a really strong team spirit, and that’s critical for our success this year,” McFarland said. “That’s something that is important to me as a coach, that we value — the team. The fact that a lot of guys didn’t have the opportunity to jump in today and they were still involved in the huddle and stuff. That’s awesome.
“I’m just super happy. It’s difficult to find the words right now.”
DISTRICT 2 CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP
Crestwood 3, Dallas 2, OT
First half — 1. DAL, Beaudyn Lewis, 2:00. Second half — 2. CRE, Max Gariano, 50:00; 3. DAL, Nate Maransky, 64:00; 4. CRE, Sean Murphy, 78:00. Overtime — 5. CRE, Michael Ceklosky, 9:00.
Shots — DAL 8; CRE 7. Saves — DAL 4 (Kyle Greenwood); CRE 7 (Anthony Kovalchik). Corner kicks — DAL 3; CRE 5.