This is the first entry for U-32’s ‘Play of The Year’, to be voted on in June.”
When Ben Bazis was little, he was afraid of ghosts. He would keep the lights on in his house to stay brave. On homecoming night years later however, under bright lights, Bazis thought he saw a ghost. It wasn’t a spirit haunting the U-32 soccer field however, rather a goal that seemingly appeared, then vanished.
U-32 High School had its homecoming the weekend of September 22nd. On Saturday night, the U-32 boys soccer team was scheduled to play Lamoille Union High School to cap off the weekend. Fans flocked to the field to see the final homecoming game, hoping to catch some eventful soccer action. That game turned out to be the talk of homecoming, one little moment in overtime being the match’s deciding factor.
U-32 scored in the 51st minute to take a 1-0 lead, but in the 80th minute Lamoille tied things up off a direct kick. The game then headed into sudden-death overtime, much to the chagrin of the Raiders.
In the 6th minute of the first half of overtime, U-32’s Dylan Clayton collected a pass on the left side of the field and took off. Upon reaching the end of the field, he kicked a pass into the middle of the field. Ben Bazis snagged the ball from a defender, wound up, and fired a shot at Lamoille’s goalkeeper.
Bazis, who took the shot, recounted the order of events leading up to the moment.
“First we had an attack from the left side from Dylan, he crossed it into the box,” Bazis said. “The defender running away from the ball slightly cleared the ball to one of his midfielders. I could see the ball coming a bit too far away from his right foot- I predicted the miss-touch and took it from him.”
“I took one touch with my right, then my left, and took about 2 stutter steps before the shot,” Bazis said. ”I hit it straight on with my right.”
Bazis hit the ball at the Lamoille goalkeeper, creating the moment that would leave everyone confused. The shot was about 35 yards out, a difficult distance to score from in any situation. Lamoille was playing their fourth-string goalkeeper after a series of untimely injuries however, so the ball went on target just through his gloves.
“It drifted to my left of the goal and went right through the keeper’s hands,” Bazis said. “I thought at the time it hit the crossbar and came right down, but everyone on the sidelines believed it hit the top of the net and came back out.”
People went wild, thinking U-32 had just scored and won the game. The referees, however, didn’t call the shot a goal. They said it never crossed the line. Then people went wild for the opposite reason: how could it not be a goal? How did they not see that it went in? Those were a few thoughts that inevitably went through some Raiders fan’s minds.
In video footage from the game, as the ball deflects off the goalkeeper it either hits the net or the crossbar and then bounces back out, the net rippling behind. If it hit the net, then the ball would have been across the goal line and a goal. If it hit the crossbar however, it might not have crossed the goal line. If the ball were to hit the net however, the net would not be nearly tight enough to make the ball ricochet back out.
No one on the team was quite sure whether it went in or not.
“When he fired the shot everything went silent,” Dylan Clayton, a freshman on the team who was on the field at the time, said. “When it hit the crossbar everything erupted with sound.”
Did the ball go in? “I don’t really know,” Clayton said.
Do you have a memorable sports moment from your U-32 sports game, or a U-32 game that you witnessed, that you think should be in the running? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your moment!