There were only a few seconds left in the first half — hey, it’s soccer nobody really knows exactly how many ticks were left — and the Loyola Flyers were feeling pretty good.
Mentally, they had one foot in the locker room and were ready to discuss their 1-0 lead against Vandebilt Catholic in Tuesday’s Division II quarterfinal boys playoff game at Messmer Stadium.
Out of nowhere, a foul was called on the Flyers and Vandebilt found itself with a free kick from just outside the left side of the box. Not a conventional place to defend a free kick and while the Flyers were trying to get positioned, the Terriers scored when Chris Wood deflected Adam Ferrar’s kick into the goal.
So much for the halftime lead, made even more frustrating by the fact that the halftime whistle came seconds later.
Talk about a halftime buzz kill …
It didn’t get any better for the Flyers from there, as Vandebilt scored immediately in the second half and later added another to come away with a 3-1 win and advance to the semifinals.
The Flyers got on the board first as Michael Vitacca took advantage of a misplay by two Terriers in front of the goal and give the Flyers in the 27th minute.
But in the span of about 90 seconds of game time, wrapped about intermission, the Flyers’ chance took a dramatic turn.
“That just sucked the wind out of us,” Loyola coach Trey Woodham said. “Don’t get me wrong, we did not quit, but that’s tough to come back from.”
After that, Vandebilt dominated the possessions and didn’t allow Loyola a whole lot of prime chances to come back.
“We played a tough team,” Woodham said. “They are good. Every single player can possess the ball. They moved it efficiently. We just didn’t make enough offensive plays to counter their possessions.”
Mitch Gautreaux scored right after halftime to make it 2-1 and sophomore Adam Ferrar, who was a thorn in the Flyers’ side all day, applied the final nail in the 70th minute with a breakaway goal.
For the Flyers, it was the first trip to the quarterfinals in five years. “From the beginning of the team until the end, we’ve been trying to figure out what kind of team we wanted to be and we found it right before the playoffs began,” Woodham said. “We are holding out heads high. We just wanted to take that next step.”