Thanks to Tom Congdon for preparing this report and for the pictures he provided!
Great game…..Gulliver Prep wins in OT 9-8 on their home turf against Belen.
The 2nd round matchup between Belen Jesuit Wolverines and Gulliver Prep Raiders did not disappoint tonight. Having beaten Gulliver Prep just a few weeks ago on their home turf, Belen had a tall task ahead of them if they were going do it again. Coming into this game, I liked Belen’s chances. This is a different team from last year and I thought their well-balanced attack, ability to clear the ball, and their steady defense gave them the edge.
The first quarter started with both teams hustling up and down the field. Possession changed back and forth. Gulliver strikes first at 10:23 by a nice goal by senior midfielder Alex Balli #22. A minute later, Belen rushes up the field on a fast break. A great pass by Rogelio Consuguegra #24 to Nicholas Smith #2 ties it at one apiece. The Belen fans erupt in applause. Possession again changes back and forth as both teams are a little sloppy with their passing. The pace and intensity of the game is wonderful to watch. Both teams are prepared to play, but it looks like it will come down to who will make the least amount of mistakes.
We’re now into the second quarter and the game feels like it’s going to be a nail biter. Great defense by Joshua Lara #34. Belen’s goalie takes possession of the ball and throws it up field. Consuguegra #24 scoops the ground ball and passes it behind the net to Deiter Prussing #19, who then slings it back to Consuguegra for a quick stick goal. Belen takes the lead 2-1. At 9:19, Maurice Milton #31 scores to give Belen a two goal advantage. Gulliver bounces back with another goal by Balli #22 at 8:20. Sophomore attackman Nick Hassan #12 scores for Gulliver at 6:36. If they’re going to win, Belen needs to do a better job on defense when play resumes. Belen takes back the lead at 2:43 by nice goal by Milton #31. Belen tries to run out the remaining time on the clock but they throw it away, giving Gulliver possession. This mistake will cost them as Balli #22 scores with 15 seconds on the clock. The game is tied at 4.
The 3rd quarter is intense as the first two. Belen’s Smith #2 scores again at 10:31. With under 9 minutes, Gulliver loses possession on a warding call. Belen capitalizes. At 7:52, Smith #2 scores his third goal of the game. At this point, Belen is clearing the ball well under intense pressure from Gulliver. They’re also passing the ball quickly and effectively around the wheel and setting up some great scoring opportunities.
At 5:23, sophomore midfielder Dylan Parmenter #2 scores for Gulliver to bring them within one goal (6-5). Working the ball around the wheel, Belen’s Ignacio Lopez-Castro #1 makes a nice pass to Smith #2 for a score. Belen takes the lead by two. Gulliver seems unfazed. Senior Francisco Tenarely #1 scores at 2:19, bringing Gulliver back to within a goal. Belen can’t pull away.
The 4th quarter starts with Belen in the lead by one (7-6). Tenarely #1 quick sticks a great pass to tie the game at 7. Shoddy passing by both teams leads to possession changing four times. With five minutes left in the game, defenseman #20 picks off an errant pass by Gulliver and runs down the field for an unassisted goal; Belen takes the lead (8-7) at the 4:48 mark. Gulliver answers back at 4:16, with Hassan #12 scoring his second of the game. We’re tied again folks! Gulliver’s defense steps it up and gets a turnover with 1:33 left in the game, but they cannot capitalize. The game ends in regulation tied at 8.
At this point, it’s tough to call who’s going to prevail. Both teams have played their hearts out, and as far as I’m concerned, both teams are deserving to advance to the 3rd round.
In overtime, Gulliver wins the faceoff and calls a quick timeout. When play resumes, Hassan #12 nets his third goal of the evening. In celebration, Gulliver players on the field hoist their sticks and gloves into the air and make a mad dash to their goalie. Gulliver’s student body charges onto to the field to embrace their gladiators. Quite a scene and epic ending to an extraordinary game.
A great win for Gulliver, and a great season for Belen. I have a feeling that 2018 might be Belen’s breakthrough year.