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Hawks tie Rams for homecoming

HOLLEY, N.Y. --- The Holley boys soccer team drew Royalton-Hartland (Roy-Hart) 2-2 for the Hawks homecoming. The Rams had the lead and momentum early, but Holley’s counterattack was enough to swing the momentum and pull out a tie. Two 10-minute overtime periods couldn’t find a winner. Along with homecoming, Holley honored their 1990 and '91 state championship teams. They were inducted into the school hall of fame.

Photo/Chamberlain Bauder

“I think we started a little nervy,” Holley head coach Zach Ritz said. “There were a lot of people here for homecoming, we were honoring our state champs so there were a lot of people here. We started a little flat and I was really proud of how the boys clawed back.”

The Rams came out with a strong offense to start the game. They had four chances in the first 10 minutes of the game. Three minutes into the game, Braden Ricker sent a through ball to Landen Guild in the top left corner of the penalty box. Guild took two dribbles and curled a right foot shot into the top corner. Holley keeper Cavan Bennage got a piece of it but not enough as Roy-Hart went up 1-0.

The second Roy-Hart goal came just six minutes later as Josiah Rodriguez sent in a shot from over 25 yards out. He dropped it just over Bennage and just under the bar for a 2-0 lead. They looked poised to continue scoring as they drove possession back into the Holley defensive third following the goal.

That possession finally came to a head at the 15-minute mark. Roy-Hart played their line high enough to open the counterattack for Holley. Chris Mosier scored on a through pass from Keon Haughton and the Hawks were right back in it 2-1.

“It’s probably the biggest part,” Mosier said about Holley’s counterattack. “Their team is always up so it’s just an easy through ball on their back heel.”

Roy-Hart was still the dominant team in possession following the goal. Holley’s chances started coming more often in the final 15 minutes of the half. The Hawks were able to get the ball comfortably into midfield. The long balls into the forwards were the problem. They were either too wide for a play or swallowed up by the Roy-Hart keeper Noah Bartholomew.

“We just had to really pay attention and see what we could do,” Haughton said. “There’s small margins so we had to be sure we had composure and were ready for it.”

The teams headed into half with Roy-Hart leading 2-1. Despite that Holley had the momentum and the energy of the homecoming crowd on their side.

“After halftime the boys really came together and decided that we were gonna play as a unit defensively and get forward offensively” coach Ritz said.

The Hawks were dominant in possession in the second half, unlike their counterattacking ways of the first. The long ball was still a key though as the Holley midfield continued to try and find Mosier on the edge of the penalty box. The junior forward was often able to bring possession into the left corner but could not find enough support from his other forwards to make a play.

Despite the failed chances, the pressure was still mounting against the Rams. The Hawks Aidan Kelley had an opportunity from the edge of the box but slipped upon shooting. A Holley free kick beamed off the face of a Roy-Hart defender eight minutes later. Holley’s time started to dwindle as they couldn’t find the back of the net for the equalizer.

The Hawks pressure finally boiled over with just under nine minutes to go in the game. Holley earned a penalty shot off a Roy-Hart handball in the box. Haughton was the senior savior for the Hawks as he found the bottom right corner to tie it up.

“He (Haughton) wanted me to take the PK and I said ‘no he’s the senior it’s his last homecoming game’ he had to take it.” Mosier said.

Holley was able to force overtime at 2-2. Roy-Hart dominated the first 10-minute period. They had two free kicks in the offensive third but couldn’t get through Holley’s defensive line. In the last 10 minutes, Holley was the dominant side. Mosier was a half-step away from an empty netter three different times in the closing period. Johnson was stuck back in the holding midfield area and unable to assist the forward.

“It meant a lot trying to push, body hurts but you just try to keep going because it’s the last one.” Haughton said about playing in overtime for his last homecoming game.

Both teams came into this game with matching records at 3-4. Both teams now move to 3-4-1. Holley’s next game will be on the road against Kendall while Roy-Hart will head to Starpoint.

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