VIRGINIA BEACH – Four overtime periods and 100 scoreless minutes of soccer couldn’t decide a winner Thursday in the Coastal Conference tournament final.
The thrilling match went to penalty kicks, where Landstown edged Ocean Lakes in eight rounds, 5-4.
“This team doesn’t know how to do it the easy way,” Landstown coach Jason Niehoff Niehoff joked afterward.
Doing it the hard way left everyone watching at the Sportsplex thoroughly entertained.
Landstown senior Wyatt Vigilante converted the last penalty kick for the Eagles, beating a sprawled Dolphins keeper Colton Demetriou to the right post for the deciding score. The shootout ended when Ocean Lakes sophomore David Lesko missed wide left on the following kick.
Eagles keeper Andrew Harrison was the MVP of the match, turning away three of the seven penalty shots he had a chance at. He also kept a talented Dolphins attack scoreless for 100 minutes of action, compiling five stops in regulation and four saves in the four overtimes.
“He’s really taken the reigns this year as a leader of our team,” Niehoff said. “He’s shown a lot of heart and work ethic. We’re lucky to have him as a leader and our net-minder. He’s been amazing.”
Demetriou was just as impressive in net. The junior made a monster save on the Eagles’ Zachary Hollingsworth in the fifth round of penalty kicks to keep the nail-biter going.
Ocean Lakes won’t enjoy watching the game tape of its missed opportunities in the second half. The Dolphins dominated possession during those 40 minutes and outshot the Eagles on-net 10-1. Ocean Lakes missed 14 shots in regulation, seven in the four overtimes and four of eight penalty kicks.
Landstown had backed into the tournament as the No. 4 seed, and it needed help from a Cox win over Kellam in the regular season finale to do so. The Eagles carried themselves like a top seed, however, knocking off No. 1 First Colonial and No. 2 Ocean Lakes on their way to the conference tournament title.
“We didn’t let it get to us at all,” Niehoff said of being underdogs. “The boys saw the opportunity and took a hold of it, and now we’re going to regionals.”