Sayre tops Wellsboro to win boys' soccer NTL title
SAYRE - There was a time at the start year when the Redskins season could have been lost.
After losing some key players to graduation and with last year's top goal scorer Nate Williams not returning the Redskins knew they were going to have to step up this year to have success.
However, for the first few games of the year an injury meant Sayre would have to compete without it's best player Seth Murrelle.
"I told them they had a decision to make," coach Glenn Murrelle said. "We lost a lot of experienced players last year and with Seth out they could fall back or they could step up."
What followed was something straight out of a fairytale.
Sayre didn't lose a game with Murrelle out and on Thursday their 1-0 victory over Wellsboro gave them their first NTL title in over a decade.
"They stepped up in a huge way," Glenn Murrelle said.
"This feels great," Seth Murrelle said of the victory Thursday. "It's been a while. In 2002 they were co-champs I think, so I don't think we have ever won it on our own."
The Redskins knew at the beginning of the year there were doubters, but all season long they knew they were capable of being good.
"We weren't picked by any of the coaches to be that good, I don't think anyone knew what we could do," Seth Murrelle said. "Everyone stepped up, everyone did a great job."
On Thursday the game was scoreless until the final nine minutes of the game when the Redskins drew a corner kick.
Seth Murrelle launched the corner to the front of the net where one of Sayre's biggest players - Cuyler Kochin - was waiting to head in the winning goal with 8:38 left.
"The corner kick was right to the 18, where it had to be," Glenn Murrelle said. "It was one of those goals where I could see by Cuyler's body position it was going to go in. He's a very strong player, he always keeps his head. Some players might have gotten nervous, but he does a great job."
As soon as Seth Murrelle launched the kick he knew what was coming.
"I knew it was going in," he said. "I always look for him, I know if he gets his head on it it is going in."
For Kochin there were a ton of emotions as he saw the ball coming.
"I was thinking nothing, and everything," he said. "I can't even explain it."
While the goal gave the Redskins the lead, the Green Hornets weren't done.
Wellsboro went on the attack and one of their best scoring chances came in the final 30 seconds as Sayre goalie Giuseppe Scavone had to race to the edge of the 18 to clear the ball away.
"I just ran, I knew I had to get out there," Scavone said. "There were a lot of nerves, I just knew I had to get there."
As soon as Scavone cleared the ball with just a few seconds left on the clock he realized the Redskins were about to be NTL champions and while his teammates celebrated Scavone sat on the ground taking in the moment.
"It was the best feeling ever," Scavone said of those last seconds.
Glenn Murrelle knew how big the save by Scavone was to lock up the victory.
"Giuseppe does a phenomenal job," he said. "He has done a great job all season long."
One of the keys for the Redskins was not letting the moment of a big game get to them.
"I told them before the game they have to be confident and have faith in themselves," Glenn Murrelle said.
For the Sayre players right from the start of the year this season could have gone a couple different ways, but they knew what they had to do.
"I am proud of this team, I am proud of everyone on this team," Seth Murelle said.
"This was a real team effort where everyone stepped up," Scavone said.
"We worked really hard as a team this year," Kochin said.
The players know that they couldn't have done this without everyone contributing.
"You look at the NTL leaders and you will see Austin Rowe and Adam Moore," Seth Murrelle said. "At the beginning of the year when I was out John Blackman stepped up and scored goals when we needed them. Everyone contributed to this."
And, in the end all those contributions led to an NTL title for Sayre.
The Redskins had 19 shots and nine corners in the game, while Wellsboro had nine shots and 11 corner kicks.
Scavone finished with eight saves for Sayre and Jake Mitchell had 11 saves for Wellsboro.