Hunter Davis had little time to steel himself — 30 seconds, maybe — for the play to save Mount Anthony’s season.
That was how long the Patriots’ goalkeeper had to get from his dismay at the first whistle, signaling Burlington had earned a penalty kick in overtime, to the one that followed, allowing Seahorses midfielder Seraphin Iradukunda to let fly.
What happens in an instant that feels like an eternity?
“Just focus on the ball. Really, it’s just a guessing game,” Davis said. “I just guessed right that time.”
Davis sprawled to his left to push Iradukunda’s shot wide of the bottom corner, keeping the game scoreless until teammate Carter Bentley struck 96 seconds into the second overtime period to lift fifth-seeded MAU past No. 4 Burlington 1-0 in Friday’s high school boys soccer quarterfinal at Buck Hard Field.
With the victory, the Patriots (12-3-1) booked a spot in the Division I semifinals for the second straight season. They’ll face top-seeded Champlain Valley at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
“For us it was just hang in, hang in, and then counter-punch,” Mount Anthony coach Mike Molloy said. “One of the things I said between overtimes was we have to get in front of that goalie on a ball in. We’ve got to make him make a decision and that’s what Carter was able to do.”
Without anything to split the Seahorses (12-3) and the Patriots through 80 minutes of regulation and a 15-minute overtime period, it was Bentley’s 17th goal of the year that did the trick.
“They weren’t expecting it, that was the only difference,” Bentley said.
Bentley’s strike partner Andrew Griffin-Leon tilted the defense toward the right flank as he tried to serve a cross into the box. His deflected attempt fell back to Jack Peterson, who quickly sent a ball over the Seahorses’ backline.
Darting to get to the end of the pass, Bentley looped a header over BHS goalie Niels Arentzen (five saves) for the winner.
“I knew I had to head it because the keeper wasn’t coming out,” Bentley said. “I peeked and he was just chilling (near his line). … I knew it was in before I hit it because he wasn’t coming out at me.”
And it stunned the Seahorses, who had seen the better of the limited chances to that point.
Iradukunda, whose shifty moves posed a constant threat on the wing, rocked the crossbar with a shot midway through the second half. Then, in the first overtime session, Iradukunda sent Joel Atutor for a 1-on-1 look against Davis (six saves), but the MAU goalie managed to repel the shot and gobble up the rebound before it slipped over the line.
“I thought we would break through eventually. We had three, four good opportunities, hit the post a couple times, the penalty kick in overtime,” said Burlington coach Fran Demasi. “We were just unfortunate.”
Misfortune for the Seahorses looked like relief for Mount Anthony when Davis turned away the penalty kick three minutes into overtime, deciphering what he could before making his move to deny Iradukunda’s hard, well-placed effort from the spot.
“He was standing straight up so I kind of guessed to go to (my) left because of how he was standing facing the ball,” Davis said.
“That was right to the corner,” Demasi said. “The goalie came up big, made a great save.”
For the Patriots, who graduated all-state-caliber players Marcus LaFlamme and Brad Anair from last year’s squad, the result sealed their first back-to-back semifinal appearances since 1988-89.
“We lost two of the best players in the state last year, and a great goalie, and we’re still doing what we do,” Bentley said.