Streaks Fall In Thriller
C’ville Beats HHS 3-2 For Title
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Kneeling on the ground with his face looking downward, Harrisonburg senior Henry Cubas-Gotay – facing the opposite end of Charlottesville High School’s stadium – opted against watching the penalty kick in question.
The roar from the crowd during the Conference 23 boys’ soccer tournament championship game Friday told Cubas-Gotay everything he needed to know following Charlottesville junior Musa Mohamed’s attempt.
“I thought I’d just lost us the game,” said Cubas-Gotay, whose takedown in the box – and the questionable call that ensued – led to Mohamed’s equalizer.
Shortly thereafter, Theo Heard scored off a pass from Mohamed on a full-field counterattack in the 77th minute and just like that, the Black Knights had rallied to hand HHS a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat in a physical and fast-paced thriller.
“That’s why we get paid as a staff – now we regroup them,” Blue Streaks coach Ted Erickson said. “It’s OK to feel this for the bus ride home. But there comes a point where we have to move on. And if we don’t as a team, then Monday’s out of the question for us. But I think we have a great shot at whoever we play.”
Both teams had already secured berths in the regionals, and Harrisonburg (12-5-1) will travel to face Conference 24 champion Jefferson Forest on Monday in a 4A North quarterfinal game.
Cubas-Gotay, who delivered a pair of spectacular plays in Friday’s loss, said this setback would certainly sting in the interim.
“We still moving on, and I just have to keep my head on my shoulders,” he said. “But I still got that feeling, you know, of it being my fault.”
The smooth-dribbling striker spotted HHS a 1-0 lead at intermission when he bent home a 25-yard free kick in the fourth minute following a yellow card against Charlotteville’s Scott Christman.
“Henry’s free kick right there, you see that stuff in the pros. I mean, that was a great free kick,” said Charlottesville coach Stephan Cost, whose team improved to 14-4. “They’re a good team; that’s good competition. They set the bar for us.”
Charlottesville drew even in the 46th minute when Christman banged home a deflection, and from that point on the Knights dominated possession. But then came a highlight-reel setup by Cubas-Gotay, who drove up the goal line and laced a rocket crosser to teammate Luis Vargas. His equally magnificent header slipped just inside the left post as HHS retook a 2-1 advantage in the 63rd minute.
That lead would prove to be short-lived, however. A relentless offensive assault over the game’s final 15 minutes for Charlottesville was first rewarded by Mohamed’s successful penalty kick in the 75th minute. Cubas-Gotay said Mohamed flopped on the hit that led to his attempt.
Then, following an unsuccessful free kick by Cubas-Gotay, Charlottesville drove the entire length of the field and Mohamed connected with Heard directly in front of HHS’s goal to secure the winning score.
“I never had a doubt,” Heard said. “We play until the last whistle. We just keep going. Our team, we’re just not going to give up.”
Halftime score: 1-0 H
Shots on goal: H 11; C 12
Corner kicks: H 3; C 3
Saves: H (Alvarez) 9; C (Quigg) 9
Scoring: HHS: Cubas-Gotay 3:51; CHS: Christman (Mohamed) 45:42; HHS: Vargas (Cubas-Gotay) 52:46; CHS: Mohamed 65:42; CHS: Heard (Mohamed) 77:52.