Obama boys lose double overtime heartbreaker in playoffs

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Obama boys lose double overtime heartbreaker in playoffs

Dominic Victoria, Sports Reporter

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The Obama Academy boys’ soccer team lost its first WPIAL playoff game in school history 3-2 Saturday to Riverside High School at Cupples Stadium. The cold weather and sporadic flashes of rain did not stop a vocal group of fans from showing up and cheering hard. Following a recent trend of striking first, Obama went up 1-0 early when senior midfielder Gregory Brooks knocked a rebound into the upper-right corner of the Riverside goal. Riverside responded with a goal late in the half and another a few minutes into the second. After the quick goal, the Eagles showed true domination for the rest of the game, keeping possession of the ball in their zone nearly the entire time. The effort finally paid off about halfway through the half when senior forward Nate Boyer evened the score at 2-2 with an excellent finish. Despite their keeping the ball for most of the half, the Eagles could not manage to score again to take the lead. Fans were nervous yet excited as the first sudden death overtime half began. The Eagles played 15 minutes of excellent soccer, getting multiple chances and nearly scoring on a penalty kick. However, the controlling team still could not score a third goal to win the match. With a boost of energy provided by the fans, Obama began the second overtime half. The pattern shown during the first 95 minutes continued as the Eagles kept the ball in their zone via accurate passing and winning balls in the air. Then, with three minutes left in overtime, a Riverside midfielder sent a ball ahead to their striker. It looked like all was lost until senior defender Ben Eddings caught up to the speedy forward and reached his foot out before he could get a shot off. The nearby referee blew his whistle and signaled for a penalty kick for Riverside. The call was extremely controversial, and the outraged reaction of many Obama fans reflected this opinion. The Riverside player took the kick, going right. Senior goalkeeper Eli Diamant (who had played a great game) went the opposite way, and the ball flew into the back of the net. Despite the tough loss early in the playoffs, Obama students should be proud of the groundbreaking team and the legacy they have created.

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