WEST HAVEN – Tyson Aksoy scored just five goals during the regular season.
The freshman’s sixth goal of the year became the biggest of his career so far as it lifted Amity to a wild 13-12 overtime victory Wednesday night in the Southern Connecticut Conference Division 2 championship game at Ken Strong Stadium.
Aksoy put the ball into the right side of the net just 1:41 into the overtime session after he was held scoreless throughout the night. It set off a wide celebration at the 20-yard line as the Spartans remained undefeated in 16 games this spring.
“It was just that one moment and it just came,” Aksoy said. “I had to hit the back of the net and I was shocked. It’s a dream come true.”
And the designed play didn’t even have the ball going to him.
“We set a play up, but we intended for it to go to John Coughlin,” Amity coach Anthony Raccio said, referring to his junior midfielder committed to Navy. “But it went to Tyson and he’s a gutsy kid.”
It was just 16 days after Amity had beaten Lyman Hall, 16-7, but it was much tighter throughout Wednesday night.
“Anytime you’re in the playoffs, championships are a whole different ballgame,” Raccio said. “Championship games are a new season.”
Freshman Patrick Coughlin was the leading goal scorer in the game with six for Amity and was named the game’s Outstanding Player.
Despite the loss, Lyman Hall coach Tim Castelli was smiling after the game.
“I told our kids that they just played a team that is a SCC Division I caliber team to a one-goal game in overtime and they should hold their heads high,” said Castelli, whose Trojans had never won more than seven games before this year in his eight seasons at the helm. We shocked a lot of teams throughout the state with this.”
What was an 8-5 Amity lead at the end of three quarters turned into a wild final 12 minutes of regulation. After Amity took a 9-6 edge, the Trojans scored three goals in less than four minutes with Jack Roberts (five goals) scoring with 6:39 to play in regulation to tie it at 9-9.
After Lyman Hall took a 12-10 edge, Amity’s Christopher Oko (four goals) scored twice in the last 2:08 of regulation, including the tying one with 27.4 seconds remaining.
In the overtime, Lyman Hall won the faceoff and took possession to start the extra session, but a turnover gave the ball to Amity.
“I wanted to call time out, but didn’t, because we had been scoring on unsettled plays,” Castelli said.
Goalkeeper John Grieco made a stellar save just a minute into overtime to keep the game alive for the Trojans before Aksoy’s game winner 37 seconds later.
It was Amity’s first championship game appearance and first title since 2003, when it defeated Branford, 15-6, in the D2 final. Lyman Hall (10-6) had never appeared in a SCC title game before.
“I talk about our team all the time, but when I talk about Amity High school, it’s for the administration, the athletic director and the teachers,” Raccio said. “What I’m most proud of is that we are bringing home a trophy to one of the best high schools in the state.”
AMITY 13, LYMAN HALL 12 (OT)
Lyman Hall 2 1 2 7 0 – 12
Amity 2 3 3 4 1 – 13
Amity: Patrick Coughlin, 6 goals, 2 assists; Chris Oko, 4 goals; Brendan Smith, 2 goals and 1 assist; Tyson Aksoy, 1 goal and 1 assist; Colby O’Connor, 4 assists. Alexander Oleschuk, 9 saves.
Lyman Hall: Daniel Pettit, 5 goals; Tommy Ralston, 1 assist; Jack Roberts, 5 goals; T.J. Reddington; 1 goal; Brendan Reddington, 1 goal. John Grieco, 4 saves.
Records: Amity, 16-0. Lyman Hall, 10-6.
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