By JOHN LIKANJE
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Sometimes, everything just seems to come full circle. Junior goalkeeper Luke Colombo lined up for the penalty kick, shuffled four steps forward and launched the ball into the back of the net to send Fillmore to the state final. The last time the Eagles advanced to the state final in 2000, Noah Voss, the goalkeeper, converted the clinching penalty as well.
Colombo pitched a shutout, made two crucial saves during penalty kicks and applied the dagger himself as Fillmore tied with Chazy (VII), 0-0, and advanced on penalty kicks, 6-5, in the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Class D semifinals. This was the third time in tournament history these schools matched up. Chazy had won the previous two matchups in 1999, 2-0, and 2005, 2-1.
“I just feel on top of the world right now,” Colombo said when explaining his elation after the match. “I’m completely stoked that I made that goal and I’m just having a good time.”
Colombo and the Eagles were tasked with shutting down a fast-paced, physical Chazy squad which blasted 14 shots in 100 minutes. Colombo stopped eight of those shots en route to the Eagles’ 11th shutout of the season and fourth in a row dating back to the sectional final. The junior goalkeeper has now amassed 53 saves in 1,125 minutes guarding the net.
“I try to stay in the best position that I can be,” Colombo said on his shutout effort. “There were a few times where I slipped up and thankfully, my defense was there to back me up. Overall, the game was won in the middle of the field.”
Despite Chazy converting its first four penalties, Colombo saved two of the last three kicks to set up his own clincher.
“We do PKs at the end of each practice,” Colombo explained. “I always shoot in the same spot, so it was just routine.”
— Paul Gotham (@PickinSplinters) November 14, 2021
The Eagles fought off Chazy’s physicality and took 18 shots of their own. Matt Majoros, Layton Sanasith, Zach Sisson, Mitchell Ward and Brent Zubikowski all converted a penalty kick. Both teams combined for 17 corners and 12 free kicks as well.
Fillmore advances to the state final to take on Section IX champion, Mount Academy. Mount Academy (IX) defeated Section IV champion, South Kortright, 5-0, at Twin Towers Middle School.
“Everyone’s going to get a good night’s sleep tonight,” Colombo said. “We’re going to come out ready to play and we’ll see what happens.”
Game is slated for Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on the Faller Turf Field at Middletown High School.