Before No. 10-seeded Mount Pleasant’s first game in the opening round of the DIAA Division II Boys Soccer State Tournament against No. 7-seeded Archmere, the Green Knights watched a few memorable sports moments for inspiration.
Mount Pleasant’s head coach Scott Smith asked his players, “Who is going to have that day today? Who’s going to have that memorable moment to keep this dream season alive?”
Two overtimes and a double shootout later, Noah Miles walked up to the ball with a tied 10-10 score in sudden death. Miles kicked to the top left of the net past the Auks’ goalkeeper to lift the Green Knights to a victory.
Miles didn’t only make it an unforgettable moment for himself but also the Mount Pleasant soccer program, which hadn’t had a winning season or made the state tournament since 1988.
“[Monday] I wasn’t going to put [Miles] in my top five, but he’s done so much for us in the last year,” said Smith of the junior, who was placed third in the player rotation during the penalty kicks.
“He took one in practice, and he was really calm about it so I made the decision late in the overtime to put him in and it worked out.”
The score remained 0-0 after regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods.
Both teams rotated five players through for penalty kicks and the Auks and Green Knights made all the penalty kicks in the first cycle.
The same players had another go at it, and this time the Auks jumped to a lead, after a clutch save from Michael Bannon. But the Archmere edge faded, and the game was decided by a sudden-death shootout.
Archmere (8-7-1) senior Tyler Burns stepped up to the challenge first, but Mount’s goalkeeper Will Norris blocked the shot.
Mount’s Jacob Cahill came up with the opportunity to win the game, but he drilled the ball just high over the post. Next was Archmere’s Geoffrey Merz, and Norris blocked the ball again.
“It just had to be done,” said Norris on blocking back-to-back penalty shot attempts. “It was all luck I guess. It was pretty stressful.”
Norris’ saves led to Miles’ game-winning shot.
Taking that long walk from midfield, Miles said he thought about how he had to make this shot because his goalkeeper was doing such a great job on defense.
“I wasn’t really sure which way to go, but luckily I chose the right direction,” said Miles.
Mount (10-5-1) will continue its playoff journey on Saturday, as the Green Knights travel to Cape Henlopen to play against No. 2 Indian River at 8 p.m.