Schiela's PK difference-maker, Wheatley downs Blind Brook
With Wheatley and Blind Brook tied in the 49th minute, Wheatley defenseman BJ Schiela was set to take a penalty kick following a Blind Brook foul. As he prepared to shoot, Blind Brook keeper Ben Seguijic approached Schiela and tried to throw him off by saying which way he would dive to block the shot.
Schiela was unfazed and accepted the challenge. He attacked the very spot Seguijic had said he would dive, the lower right corner, striking the ball home to give Wheatley a 2-1 lead and eventual victory in the Southeast Regional Finals at SUNY-Purchase Saturday. Wheatley (14-3-2) advances to the state semifinal against the winner of Clinton vs. Oneonta, its first trip to the semifinals since winning the state championship in 2004.
"We've had winning states as our goal all season so it's huge to finally be there," Schiela said. "As we go deeper into the playoffs we've just been getting better and better so we're ready for the challenge."
Blind Brook scored first when it converted a quick free kick from 20-yards out in the 15th minute. Andrew Silver shot the ball toward the far post and Lucas McBride tapped it in.
Wheatley keeper Eric Orlogio said the team was caught off guard by Blind Brook's strategy.
"We just weren't ready for it," Orlogio said. "That kind of woke us up and we adjusted and tied the game three minutes later."
Wheatley's first goal came when forward Jonathan Kowalyczk finished on a give-and-go with midfielder Alex Butwin from eight yards out in the 18th minute.
"That goal eased the nerves for us," coach Steve Cadet said. "Early on we had a lot of possessions but when we went down we got a little deflated. It was a big goal."
After the Schiela penalty kick, Wheatley would face one more challenge when McBride had a breakaway in the 68th minute. McBride got around Orologio and looked to have a shot at an empty net, but Orologio's aggressive approach took away McBride's easy angle and forced him to shoot the ball over the crossbar.
"I saw him get by the defense and said in my head I can't let this in, we worked too hard to come form behind," Orologio said. "He beat me but I didn't give him an angle."