CUMBERLAND — Dain Polyniak scored the go-ahead goal and Ty Foltz came up with a sprawling, game-clinching save seconds later as second-seeded Brunswick edged top-seeded Allegany on the first sudden death penalty kick to win the Class 1A West Region championship on a chilly Monday night at Greenway Avenue Stadium.
Neither team could claim much of an advantage the whole night, as Brunswick (15-1-2) and Allegany (15-1-1) were tied 1-1 after two 100 minutes of play and the first round of penalty kicks.
Each side made four of its first five penalty kicks, forcing sudden death kicks. Foltz’s diving block on Allegany’s first try ended the Campers’ record-setting season.
“Soccer can be a very cruel game and to lose in a championship game and have your season end on penalty kicks is a tough pill to swallow,’’ said Allegany coach Stephen Cavallo. “But it’s the region playoffs and someone has to win. It’s just a shame someone has to lose on penalty kicks.”
Brunswick appeared headed to a 1-0 win in regulation. But the Cardiac Campers — who had beaten Smithsburg on a goal with 29 seconds to play and Northern with a goal in the second overtime in earlier rounds — did it again.
This time, Brooke Knieriem sent a lofting shot toward the goal that drifted over Foltz’s head and bounced into the net with 3:53 left in regulation. It was the first goal scored on Brunswick during the postseason.
“They never give up. They are a persistent bunch, and I am extremely proud of them. No one should hang their head,” Cavallo said.
Brunswick coach Kenny Putnam agreed.
“Allegany is good. They are better than we expected, and we did not underestimate them,’’ he said. “We played some very good teams in Frederick County, and Allegany is right there with them. For Stephen to get them to the region final in two years ... everyone in their community should be proud of them.”
Brunswick led in shots, 12-10, and in corner kicks, 6-2. Nate Condor made several exceptional diving saves, including a diving one to rob Drew Demich of a goal in the final minutes, and ended up with eight stops in goal for Allegany. Foltz had six for Brunswick.
Foltz made two stops in as many seconds early in the first half. He stopped a penalty kick by Knieriem with 23:24 left in the half, but the ball deflected right back to Knieriem, whose second shot was covered by Foltz.
Seven minutes later, the Railroaders scored. Colin Shields sent a corner kick in front of the goal. The Campers were unable to clear it, and Joe Fawley scored on a short shot to make it 1-0.
“Perhaps we were lucky,” Putnam said, “because we had to get two saves on a penalty kick to get here. That kind of turned the tide for us a little bit. I felt we made some good adjustments and were controlling the game pretty good the rest of the way, but good teams find a way to get back in a game, and Allegany did.”
The Campers were a bit unlucky. Early in the game after a corner kick, they were unable to get a good foot on a ball directly in front of the goal, and two minutes before halftime Dakota Bierman’s hard, low shot struck the goal post and rolled out of play.
Demich, Justin Poole, Shields and Anthony Lukens made penalty kicks for Brunswick in the best-of-five first round. Allegany’s Bierman, Corey Knipple, Ben Levitas and Derek Fuller made theirs, with Fuller’s tying it 4-4 and forcing the sudden death round.
It was the most successful season ever for Allegany, which won the City and Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference titles and broke the school record for wins with 15.
“We appreciate the support from Allegany and the families and the fans rooting for us all year,’’ said Cavallo. “We knew this was coming. It was not a surprise for us to get to the region final. Tonight was just not our night.”
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.