Rutili's 2 goals lift Corona past Hamilton in OT

Rutili's 2 goals lift Corona past Hamilton in OT


Rutili's 2 goals lift Corona past Hamilton in OT


Senior midfielder Ellis Rutili scored two goals to lead Tempe Corona del Sol to a dramatic 2-1 victory over visiting Chandler Hamilton in a Division I, Section 2 boys soccer match on Friday night.

Rutili notched his second goal with 7:36 left in the second overtime after corralling a loose ball in traffic in front of Hamilton’s net. Corona del Sol’s defense was tested several times after Rutili’s goal, but the defending state champion could not get the ball past senior goalkeeper Keith Williamson before time expired.

Hamilton forced the overtime by scoring a goal in the final minute of regulation.

Senior captain Luis Manta, who nearly scored twice within the first five minutes of the second half, refused to be denied and tied the score at 1 with 50.3 seconds left by precisely lobbing a free kick from about 30 yards away just over Williamson’s outstretched hands and into the net

While Hamilton’s late goal was indeed eye-popping and potentially deflating, Corona del Sol did not fold.

“They had all the momentum going into overtime so the most important thing for us was to ride out the first five to eight minutes of the overtime and let things settle down and then play our game,” Rutili said. “We just needed to stay tight defensively and maybe get a goal, and eventually we got it. … I was in the right place at the right time. I’m just glad it worked out. It was a good win for us.”

Rutili scored his first goal on a penalty kick with 26:41 left in the second half. Hamilton senior goalie Manny Amaro guessed correctly on Rutili’s shot, but he couldn’t stop the blast into the lower left corner of the net.

“My mentality on that was to just a pick a side and go for it,” Rutili said. “You can’t think about it too much, or it starts to freak you out.”

Corona del Sol coach Dan Salas said he was pleased to see Rutili make such an impact in an important match. He was also pleased to see his team defeat such a good opponent after its ho-hum outings in the Tempe Diablos Soccer Classic and the AZ Soccer Showcase.

“This is one of those games that you mark on the calendar and is going to be a game that defines you in terms of how successful you’re going to be for the rest of the season,” Salas said. “If you can’t beat Hamilton or Desert Vista or Brophy, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Regarding his team’s ability to rally for a win after Hamilton tied the score in such dramatic fashion, Salas said:

“I told the guys that (their comeback) was to be expected and that it wasn’t going to be easy to beat that team,” Salas said. “After their goal, I said ‘Don’t hang your heads. React.’ And they did that. Hopefully we can carry this momentum through for the rest of the season.”

Hamilton won’t have to wait long for a chance for revenge. These teams are scheduled to play again on Tuesday at Hamilton.

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