DR. PHILLIPS — With 12 seconds left and coming out of a timeout, the West Orange Warriors called a play with the hopes of forcing overtime in their FHSAA First Round Play-In match, trailing the host Dr. Phillips Panthers 10-9.
The play the Warriors ran saw Liam Mueller bring the ball up the field before dishing off to Lane Artope, who took the shot as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
West Orange executed the play well and got the good look that it had hoped for — and Dr. Phillips sophomore goalie Nick Poulin made the save of his young career to send the Panthers (16-5) to Tuesday's Second Round Play-In game.
"At that moment, I'm just thinking 'we gotta do what we gotta do and the team's got to come together' — and we did," Poulin said, describing the final sequence. "It felt great, to be honest. That's all I can say to describe it."
For West Orange (12-7), it was a bittersweet ending to a particularly well-played game. The Warriors were demolished by the Panthers earlier in the season, a 19-6 beating on March 13. Because of that, even in defeat, Friday's game represented a redemption of sorts for a young West Orange club that will be returning many of its players next spring.
"In the regular season they beat us pretty handedly — almost to the point where you could call it embarrassing," head coach Bill Baker said. "We were straight underdogs in this game ... no one would have thought this would have been a one-goal affair going down to the last second there."