Gibraltar Carlson tried again and again to break through the steel curtain that was Farmington Hills Harrison goalie Varun Purusothaman. But despite Carlson's best efforts, it was Harrison that walked away with a 1-0 win and a Division 2 boys soccer regional championship on Thursday night.
Carlson (20-2-1) fired 31 shots in the direction of Purusothaman, putting 16 on goal compared to just three from Harrison, but they just couldn’t get one to find the back of the net.
“He personifies the metaphor of standing on your head,” Harrison coach Tim Russell said of his keeper. “He was a lifesaver.”
According to his coach, Purusothaman almost didn’t play after injuring his thumb in practice on Wednesday.
“He was playing hurt tonight,” Russell said. “I knew adrenaline would get him through it because he’s a big-time gamer.”
With Purusothaman keeping the game scoreless, Harrison finally broke through with 17 minutes remaining in the game.
Jacob Honer went on a counter attack, and with one of his teammates crossing in front of goal, decided to take the shot for himself from 18 yards out as the defense backed away to cover the run. With plenty of space to operate, Honer struck from the right side off the fingertips of Carlson’s goalie to give Harrison a 1-0 lead.
It was Honer’s second game-winner in the state playoffs, as he also posted the deciding goal in the district semifinals against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood in overtime.
“We’ve done it before,” Russell said. “Who cares how many shots you get?”
On the other side, Carlson was left to wonder how they let a game they dominated on the stat sheet slip away.
“There’s not much to say after that type of loss,” Carlson coach Mario Parody said. “Everybody is so heartbroken. You just tell them you’re proud of them and that you love them.”
Harrison (13-6-3) will play the winner of East Lansing-Petoskey in a state semifinal at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 at Fenton.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.
More boys soccer scores
Coldwater 2, Dexter 0
Stevensville Lakeshore 2, Plainwell 1
Farmington Hills Harrison 1, Gibraltar Carlson 0
Holland 2, Grand Rapids Christain 0
East Lansing 2, Goodrich 1
Petoskey 1, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 0
Grand Rapids South Christian 5, Dowagiac 1
Flint Powers Catholic 3, Lansing Catholic 0
Ludington 2, Big Rapids 0
Ann Arbor Greenhills 1, Monroe SMCC 0
Genessee Christian 2, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 1
Buckley 1, Leland 0