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Lake County Sentinel
Casey assists Williams in double OT to send Blue Devils to District Final

On Saturday afternoon the Wickliffe Blue Devils Boys Soccer team upset Hanoverton United 4-3 in the Sectional Final. The Northwestern Huskies did same as the 27th seed Huskies pulled of an upset to advance to play the Blue Devils at Wickliffe on Tuesday night. The grass field at Wickliffe Memorial Stadium is in its last days as it will be replaced with an artificial surface before the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Field conditions were already not ideal but the fact it has rained for the past several days made things worse with puddles and mud. But this is soccer so the game went on as usual, with the condition it looked as though scoring would be low and that was the case as Wickliffe bolted back from a 2-0 deficit late in the second half to stop the Huskies 3-2 in double overtime.

Just 3:18 seconds into the game Northwestern Senior Captain Maxwell Albright was able to maneuver the ball past Wickliffe Junior Goalkeeper Gabe Stoehr to give the Huskies the early 1-0 lead.

Things remained relatively quiet for the next 21:56 of the first half until at the 14:46 mark of the half Huskies Sophomore Dugan McLaughlin barely nudged the ball past Stoehr in the right corner of the net to give Northwestern a 2-0 lead which remained the score at the half.

Field conditions continued to worsen as there was a heavy downpour at the end of the first half which continued for much of halftime.

With conditions it was not much of surprise that there was no scoring for most of the second half until the Blue Devils finally broke through with 7:46 remaining the game Sophomore Midfielder Shane Williams broke the plain of the goal and cut the Northwestern lead to 2-1. Williams was not done.
Wickliffe came all the way back to tie the game 2-2 with 2:13 left in regulation when Junior Defenseman Bryant Murphy hit pay dirt knocking the ball into the Northwestern goal. The game was on the way to overtime.

Sometimes the spotlight and playoff pressure is to much for certain athletes, especially in an overtime situation, Tuesday night proved none of these things were true of Stoehr as he stopped three consecutive Northwestern shots near the end of overtime, stifling the Huskies furious attack to send the game to a second overtime.

Facing a possible shootout situation if neither team scored in the second OT and five minutes into the second extra 15 period things looked as though they were headed that way. Then two Wickliffe Sophomore’s tool things into their own hands when Colin Casey assisted and kicked the ball to Williams for his second goal of the night into the net to send the young Blue Devils squad into a euphoria clinching a 3-2 win and a trip to the district final.

The Blue Devils will now play the Creston Norwayne at Norwayne on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for the District Championship.
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com follow Tim on Twitter @TBBucsTim or follow us on Twitter @LCSentinelcom 
​POSTED 10/27/2020 23:03
Photo by Tommy Shirer