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Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015: Wow! What a day for drama in soccer playoffs

   (Editor's note: This blog was updated at 11 a.m. Thursday to add the dramatic finish to Solomon Schechter vs. Southold.)

   Leading off today: If losing on penalty kicks in sudden death is the cruelest way to end a soccer season, then winning in sudden death is almost certainly the most dramatic way to advance.

   We were reminded of that Wednesday night in Stillwater in the Section 2 girls Class AA final as sophomore Alana McNulty drilled home a shot with 1:23 left in the second sudden-death overtime to give Niskayuna a 3-2 win over Shenendehowa. Sarah Cook's cross deflected off a Shen defender, onto McNulty's foot and into the net.

   In regulation, Katherine Frain twice staked Shenendehowa to leads and Niskayuna's Izzy Lynch twice responded. Her second goal, less than a minute into the second half, was the end of the scoring until late in the second five-minute sudden death.

   "Not one minute did we doubt ourselves," Niskayuna's Marika Contompasis told The Times Union. "We talked about how they had scored a two-goal lead on us before (in the regular season). We didn't take this lightly, but we knew we could come back."

   Niskayuna advances to Saturday's NYSPHSAA quarterfinals against Baldwinsville.

   The Niskayuna-Shenendehowa game started more than an hour late after Schoharie and Greenville went to penalty kicks in the Class C final. Eighth-grader McKenzie Barton scored the winner and goalkeeper Desiree Palmatier turned back Greenville's fourth attempt in sudden death to extend Schoharie's season.

   After a scoreless tie through overtime, each team made three of five penalty kicks with Greenville's Alysia Thomas twice stopping attempts that would have clinched for Schoharie.

   The shootout went to sudden death with both teams scoring on their first three attempts.

   More girls soccer: Paige Sherlock won the 2014 Section 11 Class AA championship on a penalty kick. This year she scored the goal early in the first overtime as West Islip edged Hauppauge 1-0.

   "All I was thinking was run through the ball and it could be over," Sherlock, who also scored the winning penalty kick in the Suffolk County semifinals on Monday, told Newsday. "I saw it in the net and thought, 'Wow! I can't believe it actually went in.'"

   West Islip (16-1-3) will play Massapequa in the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals Saturday.

   Hicksville boys advance: Goalkeeper Connor McPartland saved two consecutive penalty kicks and Francesco Cirigliano scored the clincher for Hicksville as the Comets outlasted Massapequa 4-2 on penalty kicks after OT ended in a 1-1 tie for the Section 8 Class AA championship.

   Matt Sloan and Nicholas Rodriguez scored for Hicksville in the first two rounds of penalty kicks, and Alex Sambone and Anthony Cestaro answered for Massapequa. McPartland and the Chiefs' Jacob Liese each made saves in Round 3, then another McPartland diving stop set the stage for Cirigliano.

   Late development: End-to-end action resulting in the game's only goal gave Solomon Schechter a last-minute victory over Southold in the first round of the boys Class C tournament.

   Schechter goalkeeper Noah Dunn made a diving stop and cleared the ball quickly to start the Lions in transition with the scoreboard clock stopped and time being kept on the field. Sophomore Miles Ogihara raced up the right side and found himself one-on-one with Southold goalkeeper Dylan Clausen. Ogihara fired low and tucked the ball inside the far post.

   "History has taught him he'll miss the first five or six of


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  • those and maybe bury the six and seven," Schechter coach Bryan Lamana told The Suffolk Times. "I was kind of hoping with the clock stopped at two minutes that was the one he finally converted. I guess it was. He couldn't have been more wide open."

       Ogihara also scored the game-winning goal in the Section 1 final on Friday.

       "It was a very similar situation," Lamana said. "He just seems to be in the right place at the right time."

       Well-placed kicks: Sophomore midfielder Jacob Schulman scored twice on direct kicks in the final seven minutes, both from 25 yards out, as Cornwall rallied past Vestal 2-1 in the first round of the NYSPHSAA Class A tournament.

       "I just practice them all the time at home, at the field, at practice," Schulman told The Times Herald-Record.

       A Vestal foul set up Schulman's game-tying kick from just outside the box in the 73rd minute. Four minutes later, Vestal committed another foul and Schulman stepped up again for the game-winning goal.

       "He's definitely our direct-kick guy," Cornwall coach Matt Quick said. "He's just got an unbelievable ability to hit a ball, a dead ball, and he can pretty much put it anywhere he wants. It's an amazing skill to have, especially for those moments."

       The comebacks have become a trend for the Green Dragons, who rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Red Hook in overtime in the Section 9 semifinals and then used a second-half goal from Ian Anderson and then penalty kicks to top Goshen.

       Cornwall advances to the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals vs. Pearl River.

       A Floral Park first: Floral Park captured the school's first Section 8 Class A title in boys soccer, edging Jericho 3-2 on a trio of headers by senior Jonathan Ferone.

       "Indescribable. An amazing feeling," Ferone told Newsday after tallying twice in the first half and once early in the second half to build a 3-0 lead.

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