The Corning boys soccer team is getting lots of practice in shootouts.
Actually, the Hawks have gotten lots of work in all facets of their game, winning the third times in as many days by defeating Johnson City in a shootout Wednesday in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference semifinals.
Corning (10-5-1) moves on to the title match at 3 p.m. Friday at Corning Memorial Stadium against Oneonta, which beat Vetsal in the other semifinal 4-3 in overtime.
After 100 minutes of scoreless soccer, all five Hawks were able to put the ball into the net during the shootout to give Corning a 5-4 edge .
Corning reached the semifinals by defeating Elmira in a shootout Tuesday after the game ended tied at 2 after regulation and two overtimes. That match was needed to determine the STAC West participant in the playoffs.
The Hawks forced the Elmira game by defeating Vestal 3-2 on Monday, which left Corning and the Express tied atop the STAC West standings.
“Right now, we’re a very good team. We’re on a roll and feel unstoppable,” said Noah Coons, who booted in Wednesday’s game-winner for the Hawks .
Corning dominated possession for most of regulation, coming up with several excellent scoring chances. Johnson City goalie Ryan Baileys turned the threats away each time, finishing with 12 saves.
“Their keeper was outstanding. We had a lot of opportunities,” Hawks coach Steve Mastronardi said.
But Baileys could not make stops in the shootout, as Jeff Kahlmeyer, Zach Quist, Lucas Knowles, Isaac Davis and Coons all converted.
Coons took a page from Quist and Davis, both of whom rolled their attempts up the middle. Coons, Corning’s fifth shooter, did the same.
“I saw their keeper went to the left. I tried to use my hips to fake him,” Coons explained.
Of the shootouts Mastronardi said, “We’re pretty confident in those.”
Johnson City (10-4), which shot first, almost matched the Hawks. Nate Krome, Haris Brkovic, Steve Grebe and Christian Rosics were able to get the ball past Corning goalie Alex Goforth.
Clay Smith, the Wildcats’ No. 2 shooter, came close, but his attempt rang off the post as he clutched his head in despair.
Johnson City played without Hans Purtell, its most dangerous scorer who was out because of an injury.
“We’re a very young team,” Wildcats coach Hristos Dimitriou said. “We tried to pressure them. We knew they played two games in a row. But their experience took over. We had our chances, but we didn’t maintain our composure.”
Meanwhile, Mastronardi sees no reason for Corning’s run to end.
“It’s all about confidence and mental toughness,” he said.