13.5 seconds, heartbreak for West Union

West Union senior Trevor Neal, right, is on the attack in the Dragons’ 1-0 sectional loss to the Portsmouth West Senators.

Late Portsmouth West goal ends Dragons’ season – 

Story and photos by Mark Carpenter – 

At the end of Super Bowl XXIII, microphones caught Cincinnati coach Sam Wyche muttering over and over “34 seconds…34 seconds.” That was how close the Bengals came to winning their first world championship before the heroics of Joe Montana stole that away.
Last Saturday afternoon at West Union High School, you may have heard WUHS boys soccer coach Kevin Hunter muttering something along those same lines, “13.5 seconds…13.5 seconds.” That was how close the Dragons came to forcing an overtime and keeping their season hopes alive as they hosted the Portsmouth West Senators in an opening round Division III sectional tournament contest.
After a tough, physical game saw neither team find the net for 79 minutes and 46 and a half seconds, the Dragons saw their season come to a heartbreaking end when West senior Uriah Vandyke got loose and blasted one past West Union keeper Colt Parker with just 13.5 seconds left in regulation to give the Senators a 1-0 sectional victory.
“That’s definitely a tough way to end a season,” said Coach Hunter after the loss. “We were short on players today, only having 12 available, but overall I thought our boys played really well and worked really well as a team. It was a good way to end as far as the way we played but I hated to see it decided in the last few seconds. That typically doesn’t happen in a soccer game.”
“I think our kids may have just been watching the clock and thinking about overtime, even I was.”
Both sides had opportunities in the first half but every one of those was thwarted in one way or another. With 28:25 to play in the first half, Parker came out to challenge and a Senators’ shot sailed high. Two minutes later, parker made a diving save to preserve the shutout and a couple of West indirect kicks went off target later in the half. With eight minutes left in the half, West Union’s Bowan Tomlin had a corner kick that found the head of teammate Zane Kingsolver, but sailed wide right. Four minutes later. The same thing happened but this time Kingsolver’s attempt went high and the half ended in a scoreless deadlock.

West Union’s Kyler Sellars battles for possession in Saturday’s sectional soccer contest with Portsmouth West.

The same theme prevailed in the second half, good defense on both ends and few scoring opportunities either way. With 28 minutes to play, West Union’s Chase Cummings broke free for the West defense and made a rush to the goal but just couldn’t get anything on the shot and it rolled wide of the goal. Five minutes later, the Dragons had their best chance at scoring to that point when a shot by Nathan Music hit the Senators’ keeper and bounced straight up and over the crossbar and out of bounds.
No one then threatened until the final minute and with most in attendance thinking they were going to see an overtime, Vandyke had other ideas as he controlled a ball off of a big bounce and fired from about 20 yards out, beating Parker top shelf and sending he and his teammates into a delirious celebration. When the ball came back into play, the Senators wisely just booted it out of bounds to kill the clock as they advanced to the sectional finals with the last second 1-0 triumph.
“Losing all the seniors we did last year and then the ones we will lose this year will make next year a challenge to put together the program and rebuild. For the way we started the season, I thought we finished well and for what we had, we did a lot with and we will continue to grow and will bring back a lot of talented underclassmen.”
“What our kids do in the preseason will go a long way to determining what we do in the future.”