FREEDOM PLAINS – Seconds after teams shook hands following Saturday’s Section 1 Class AA boys soccer final, Yorktown junior goalkeeper Giuliano Santucci held the second-place plaque in his hand and stared at it, shaking his head.
A questionable penalty call and subsequent penalty kick goal 16 minutes into the game was what stood between the seventh-seeded Huskers capping a Cinderella postseason run by knocking off top-seeded Arlington on its home field.
The hot-blooded emotions between the two teams carried over into the postgame ceremonies as a visibly frustrated Yorktown team waited intently to shake its opponent’s hands and exit the field while the Admirals (19-1) continued to celebrate their third sectional title in four years in front of a boisterous home crowd.
“My whole week is going to be sort of down, a little bit,” said Santucci, who finished with eight saves. “We have to score. The only thing we had to do is score one goal, at least, but we didn’t come through.”
Yorktown was called for grabbing Arlington in the box while Santucci grabbed a 50-50 ball. Admirals senior Vinny Colantuono rolled the penalty kick into the bottom-left corner of the goal past Santucci, who dove the other way.
Although Yorktown was on the bench furthest from the penalty call, Huskers head coach Ed Polchinski said he agreed there was a hold, but that it didn’t affect the play.
“Our goalie had the ball. I don’t think (the Arlington player) had a chance for the ball anyway,” said Polchinski, whose squad knocked off 2- and 3-seeds Port Chester and Scarsdale in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. “It happens, and you go on from there.”
Player of the game: Ryan Wilson, Arlington: The senior goalkeeper made nine saves en route to his 17thh shutout of the season.
Turning point: Without a doubt, it’s the penalty kick. Arlington capitalized on its best opportunity to score, which was the only goal of the game. The Admirals drew a red card with just under 20 minutes left in regulation, forcing them to play a man down the rest of the game.
Quotable: “Last year, being the top seed really got to us,” Wilson said. “We got a little cocky, and I guess the pressure was there. This year, we grew up a lot.”