Wilson reaches program first finals appearance

By PAUL GOTHAM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Scott Miller never envisioned this. The 18-year head coach of the Wilson Magnet boys’ soccer team looked at his time spent as a way to get to know students. Friday night, Miller and his Wildcats will take the field in the Section Five Class A2 finals – a first in program history.

“It’s unbelievable,” Miller said after Wilson defeated the Wayne Eagles, 4-1. “We don’t have a freshmen team, a JV team. We got 20 guys who come out for the team. I don’t make cuts. We’re up against the odds in a game like this. They worked hard and got the job done.”

Anoj Sharma collected a goal and an assist on the evening. The senior has scored seven goals this season. None more important than the tally in the 74th minute of Tuesday’s match. After Wayne’s Brandon Albano cut Wilson’s 2-0 lead in half with a blistering shot from 22 yards out, Sharma responded 1:21 later.

“That answer was huge,” Miller said of Sharma’s goal. “When they scored that one, we knew they’d be coming for us after that.”

Sharma stayed far post and Thakur Kharel’s cross travelled through the goal mouth where Sharma was waiting.

Kharel got Wilson on the scoreboard late in the first half. Sharma threaded a pass through Wayne’s back line. Kharel gathered the pass in stride and beat Wayne goalkeeper, Branden Shugarts, off the dribble for a 1-0 edge with 6:20 to go in the first half.

Kharel played a role in Wilson’s second goal. The senior attacker took on a pair of Wayne defenders with the dribble and was hauled down inside the 18-yard box. Patrick Phillips converted the ensuing penalty kick for a 2-0 lead in the 53rd minute.

“I knew we could do it this week,” Miller added. “I watched the other teams. We knew we had enough to get the job done if we did things right in the right situation. We’re happy as can be.”

Wilson’s defense limited Wayne’s scoring opportunities. The Eagles were forced throughout the game to unload shots from outside the 18-yard box.

“They’ve been doing it all season,” Miller said of defense. “It’s the communication.”

Phillips took advantage of a takeaway inside the box and added an insurance goal in the 76th minute.

Wayne was looking to reach its first sectional final since 2005 The Eagles last won a sectional championship in 1974.

The Wildcats advance to meet two-time A2 champion Honeoye Falls-Lima. The Cougars defeated Eastridge, 3-0 in the other semi-final.

A 5 p.m. kickoff is scheduled Friday night at Hilton High School.

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