HAMPSHIRE – Forty eight hours later, a champion was crowned.
In what was perhaps the most nerve-wracking regional final either Hampshire or Marian boys soccer players ever had experienced, the Whip-Purs finished what they began Saturday night when junior forward Jason Bishop socred in the second overtime period to propel No. 2-seed Hampshire to a 3-2 victory against the top-seeded Hurricanes in the IHSA Class 2A Hampshire Regional final Monday.
Lightning from Saturday’s storm had postponed the match at the end of regulation with the score tied at 2. It resumed Monday at the start of the first overtime period. When the match still was tied after one overtime period, the teams switched sides and continued to scrap until Bishop’s goal solidified Hampshire’s victory.
“I’m speechless right now,” said Bishop, who tallied his 20th goal this season. “They (Marian) were very physical and came out tough, but ... I’m so glad we were able to make it happen.”
Hampshire coach John Gosling knew the Hurricanes’ defensive formation, a flat back four – designed to keep offense out of the middle of the field by creating a diagonal line that forces the offense to go where there is more space – could be exploited if the Whips sent a long ball up top and the forward then beat out the defense.
The plan worked. Junior defender Jared Butler served a ball from near midfield up to Bishop, who was waiting near the left post and sent his shot into the right corner of the net to end the game.
“He (Butler) just booted it right up to me perfectly, and I used my right foot to get it in the right side,” Bishop said. “We knew it could work if we had the chance to do it.”
Hampshire (16-6-1 overall) executed its respective roles perfectly, Gosling said, giving them each strict instructions and then watching as they contained Marian (22-3) – a team that Butler admitted was intimidating coming in.
“We came in kind of pessimistically because we knew they were really good, but then we went up 2-0 (on Saturday) and our hope just skyrocketed,” Butler said. “We had a feeling that we could beat them. Today we were ready.”
The goal was Hampshire’s first shot Monday while Marian had three chances – two from corner kicks and another from a free kick – but the shots either were cleared, shot wide or directly at Hampshire keeper Marcus Quick.
Marian coach Kristian Rockall said the team had state finals aspirations, and it was difficult to see the match end with a loss.
“ ... I did think a long ball over the top might catch us off guard, and that’s what happened,” Rockall said. “My players played exactly how I wanted them to play today. They did me proud.”