Gabor's PK Sends Jays to Semi-Finals
Jays down Maritime in thrilling Quarterfinal battle 1-0 in 2OT
Throgs Neck, NY - There have been a lot of firsts for the NYU-Poly men's soccer team this year, but none so far means as much as the Jays first-ever postseason playoff victory. In a game that looked certain to go to penalty kicks, it was, in fact, a PK that decided it, as sophomore captain Joe Gabor (Warwick, NY / Warwick HS) converted the opportunity in the 105th minute to give Poly the 1-0 double-overtime, golden goal win.
NYU-Poly will now play St. Joseph's (LI) on Friday in the Skyline Conference Semi-finals. The other matchup will pit Old Westbury at Farmingdale.
It was a rematch of a regular season contest in which the two squads played to a 0-0 double-overtime draw. But, in a game that was eerily similar, this one would have to have a winner. In the 105th minute, freshmen Allen Rohr (Northridge, CA / Granada Hills Charter) received a pass at the top of the box, he beat his defender to the left and was taken down inside the box. Gabor then drove his PK attempt into the lower left corner past Privateer keeper Harris Papson.
Just like the first meeting, it was the Jays who were more dangerous in the first half, creating eight shots, three on goal. Nick Belesis (Marblehead, MA / Marblehead HS) nearly but the Jays on the board in the 26th minute when he beat his man on the end line and curled a shot from the left side of the box just past the right post. Then in the 39th minute, senior Avon Gabriel (Brooklyn, NY / Brooklyn Tech) received a cross inside the six, but his volley sailed over the crossbar.
The second half was almost deja vu from the first meeting, as Maritime gradually took over the game. The Jays dodges several chances by the Privateers as freshmen Cesar Alagoz had two opportunities pushing one wide of the post and another saved by Poly keeper Rob Petri (St. Louis, MO / St John Vianney). Petri recorded 7 saves on the night en route to his fourth shutout of the season.
In the overtime period momentum swung back to NYU-Poly as Diego Schwartz (Rego Park, NY / Forest Hills HS) nearly won the game as his half-volley from the top fo the box was headeed to the upper left corner, but Papson turned the shot away for a corner. The Jays held the advantage in corners 8-4, including three in overtime. Maritime outshot Poly 16-12, and 7-6 on goal. Papson made five saves in a losing effort.
NYU-Poly improves to 10-9-1, marking the first time in school history the team has recorded double digit victories. The win also guarantees the Jays of at lest a .500 record, another program first. The Jays are now 2-1-1 in overtime contests. In their regular season meeting, Poly lost to semi-final opponent St. Joseph's 1-0. The game is set for Friday at 3:00pm at Diamond in the Pines in Coram, NY.