MIDDLETOWN – Hastings has had a knack for scoring when the pressure is on, which is why the Yellow Jackets brought the program to new heights this season. But on Saturday, the well ran dry.
Hastings outplayed Section 5 champion East Aurora in just about every facet of the game — except when it came to finishing. Despite a late push and several opportunities, the Yellow Jackets were shut out in a 1-0 loss in a Class B boys soccer state semifinal at Faller Field.
“The effort was there, the heart was there, the skill was there, the technique was there — we just couldn’t get it in the back of the net,” senior captain Will Berritt said. “That’s the game of soccer.”
East Aurora’s main weapon is Noah Thompson, who created the only goal of the game with a long throw-in to Alex Baase in the 19th minute.
“The only way people have scored on us this year was set pieces,” Berritt said. “Last year, as well. I don’t know what it is. We all get caught sleeping and expect the person behind us to play the ball, and it just doesn’t work out.”
Hastings (17-3-3) outshot the Blue Devils 17-8 and had seven corner-kick opportunities. But the East Aurora (18-2-2) defense held strong, particularly on a play in which Sam Franz cleared a ball off of the goal line in the 57th minute.
The Yellow Jackets had never previously made it to the state final four.
“It’s the most accomplished team in school history,” Berritt said. “I can’t not be proud of that. I’m proud of every person on the team. I can’t ask for much more than that.”