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LOUISVILLE – As far as Will Vitalis is concerned a little drama never hurt anyone.
Vitalis, a senior striker for the South Oldham High School soccer team scored with 2:27 left in the game to give the Dragons a 2-1 upset of No. 1 ranked Trinity Monday in the opening round of the state tournament.
“I just wait until the last second sometimes I guess,” Vitalis said. “Just to make it dramatic.”
Vitalis scored the winning goal in overtime in the regional finals and now has 40 goals for the season. SOHS coach Denis Beall could do without the last second heroics, though he won’t turn them down.
“Man, what a way to win this,” Beall said. “That’s Will. With his scoring ability he can get by two or three guys and still get off a shot.”
The win avenged a pair of regular season blowout losses to Trinity where the Dragons fell 6-1 and 7-1 and pushed SOHS into the sectional finals against No. 2 St. X Wednesday.
Vitalis, a four-year starter for the Dragons, was all alone through much of the game on the offensive end as the Dragons switched to an extra midfielder to shore up their defense against the powerful Trinity offense.
Vitalis still managed to get double-digit shots on goal and his pressure on the goal helped the Dragons get their first score on an own goal when a Trinity defender tried to alleviate the SOHS attack with a drop pass the goalie did not see coming. That led to a score for SOHS as the ball rolled into the net with 1:09 left in the first half.
“It was a little frustrating at times with five guys around me,” Vitalis said. “I really had to pick and choose where I could make my runs.”
The Dragons went with a five-man midfielder look moving Brycen Howard back to more of a defender’s role.
“It allowed us to play with a little more confidence back there and with a player as talented as Brycen it really helped,” Beall said.
The defense was also sparked by the play of first year goalie Dylan Gordon. Gordon, a senior and basketball player, came out this season and earned his stripes Monday with several key saves.
Trinity, however, could not be completely stopped. The Shamrocks tied the game nine minutes into the second half when Trinity defender Sam Fox sent a 65-yard pass straight down the center of the field that Kai Quala was able to head in past Gordon who was charging to intercept the ball.
Gordon, however, came through several times in final 15 minutes, stopping six shots on goal. The most serious came with just over four minutes left when he deflected a shot that came out of a pack in front of the goal.
“I heard it more than I saw it,” Gordon said. “I just got my hand out there enough to knock it away.”
The stop was followed by the game-winner from Vitalis who was able to get free behind a Trinity defender to setup a one-to-one confrontation with the goalie he won with a shot from about 15-yards out.
“Coach kept saying we would get one more run,” Vitalis said. “I just wanted to get it over with no overtime. I was tired.”
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