When it comes to the playoffs, usually a team’s older players come through in the big moments.
It’s also normally a starter that makes the play.
Tuesday night’s District 6 Class AA quarterfinal boys’ soccer match between Bald Eagle Area and Forest Hills wasn’t your usual game.
The Eagles (13-4-2) came away with a 3-2 victory thanks to an underclassman.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Centre Daily Times
“I don’t even know where to start right now,” BEA coach Jason Bair said. “We had a guy who has been a sub all year put the ball in 40 seconds after they score.
The Rangers tied the match 2-2 with just under 14 minutes left off the foot of Wyatt Bramley.
Sophomore Nick Zink gathered in a rebounded off a direct kick and tucked it in the lower left corner past a diving goalkeeper Nathan Valko for what proved to be the winner.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Zink said. “Every goal we just crash. I just crashed the goal and made it.”
Zink’s brother, Dylan, started the play with the direct kick from 30 yards out. He put it square on Valko in the middle of the net and the keeper wasn’t able to haul it in. The ball bounced right to Nick Zink’s foot and it was all over from there.
The goal handed the Eagles the lead for the third time in the game and it was an advantage they would not lose.
“He’s done that now four games in a row,” Bair said. “Four games in a row! He has scored a goal we needed either to start us or to finish a team off. I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, what have I stumbled on?’”
After the go-ahead goal, BEA’s defense, which gave up just six shots on the night, took control. It allowed just one shot the whole second half and that was on Bramley’s score.
The night started with two quick goals six minutes apart with the Eagles getting on the board first. Seth Koleno took a rebound off his own shot 4:30 into the game and sneaked the ball to the bottom right corner of the net through a crowded box.
Forest Hills responded on a free kick. Jared Wehner set up 45 yards out from the net. He rifled a shot in the upper right corner of the net to tie the game 1-1.
The teams went scoreless the rest of the half.
BEA got another early goal to start the second half. Joey Gates crossed the ball that looked to get to the foot of Koleno for a second goal, but the ball instead went off a Ranger’s foot for an own goal, according to Bair and Koleno.
“We kept plugging away, defense did its job and we survived,” Bair said of his team’s win. “I give credit to Forest Hills. They are a good team.”