NANUET – It’s been a difficult season for Nyack boys soccer, which hasn’t won a game since Sept. 9 and barely squeaked into the Class A playoffs as the No. 20 seed.
But the postseason offered the Indians a clean slate and their outbracket opponent turned out to be a familiar foe, Rockland County rival Nanuet. They tied the 13th-seeded Golden Knights twice during the regular season, and while Wednesday’s 1-1 final score will technically count as the third tie of the year, it was much, much more than that for Nyack.
The Indians advanced on penalty kicks, 5-4, with junior goalkeeper Karl McGinnis making a save on Nanuet’s final shot to send Nyack to a first-round matchup at No. 4 Lakeland on Friday.
“Every time that we get to sectionals, the first thing that coach (Hal Stone) says is, ‘Right now, everyone is 0-0. All of the stats are wiped and everything is on the line,’ ” McGinnis said. “For us, it’s really like a fresh start. We don’t look at our schedule or how many wins and losses we have. We just think, ‘This is who we’re playing, and we can beat them.’ ”
It was 1-1 at halftime — Nyack’s Eslam Ellisy scored in the sixth minute and Nanuet’s Daniel Torres equalized on a breakaway in the 17th — but despite numerous opportunities both ways in the second half and overtime, neither team could come up with the winner.
“It was a great game all three times that we played them,” McGinnis said. “It had to come down to the wire, of course.”
After five penalty kicks each, it was tied at 4-4, but Obdulio Chacon buried Nyack’s sixth attempt and McGinnis clinched it with a diving save on Nanuet’s final chance.
“I told my teammates, ‘It’s win or go home. Do it or you’re going to go home crying,’ ” Nyack forward Wismento Saint-Germain said. “Even though we won, I’m still crying. It was just a hard, tough game, but we never gave up and played hard until the end.”
Player of the game: Wismento Saint-Germain, Nyack — The Indians needed someone to step up after losing their two best offensive players, Nour Ellisy and Hector Sandoval, to injury. Saint-Germain, a freshman, did just that on Wednesday. He had a pretty assist on Nyack’s only goal and created several opportunities throughout the game.
“As a freshman, there are some guys who are going to leave me, and I still have three more years to go,” Saint-Germain said. “Since they’re seniors, I have to step up now.”
Turning point: There were some tense moments for the Indians in the final overtime period. McGinnis made a diving save on Nick Iozzo’s breakaway in the 101st minute, and less than two minutes later, defender Will Ramos cleared a ball off of the goal line that would have ended Nyack’s season.
“He’s got my back and I’ve got his,” McGinnis said of Ramos.
Stat line: Nyack (2-11-4) — Eslam Ellisy scored on an assist from Saint-Germain and McGinnis made eight saves. Chacon, Frantz Jean-Francois, Quinn Burch, Zach Stone and Jack Sirois converted their penalty kick chances. Nanuet (7-7-3) — Torres scored and Mark Bologorsky made seven saves. Torres, Andrew Blutig, James Dorrian and Matt Wain converted their penalty kick chances.
Quotable: “Mostly, I try and read their body movement — their eyes and their feet,” McGinnis said of his game-clinching save. “When he placed the ball, I saw his plant foot go immediately to my bottom right corner. I thought, ‘I have to go there.’ That was my first instinct.”