Ryan Hilke is earning quite a reputation for himself.
For the second time this postseason, the Calhoun sophomore netted an overtime winner. The first one defeated No. 6 Oceanside in the quarterfinals. The second, on an unseasonably warm Wednesday evening at Hofstra, carried a bit more weight.
Hilke’s goal 51 seconds into overtime upset No. 1 Massapequa, giving No. 3 Calhoun a 1-0 win in the Nassau Class AA championship. In the 14 seasons since Calhoun last won a county title in 2001, Massapequa had won or shared nine championships.
“That was unbelievable,” senior captain Joe Thomann said. “That kid is always in the right place at the right time. I just saw it bouncing around right to him, and he tapped it in. He did it in the Oceanside game, and it was amazing to see again. It was awesome.”
Hilke had scored just one goal in the regular season. His only goals in the postseason have been overtime winners. The one that sent the Colts into Sunday’s Long Island championship — where they will face either Brentwood or Newfield — came off a scramble in the box.
Nealson Gil sent a long free kick into the box. Massapequa could not clear the ball, and Thomann headed it from the right post toward the center of the 6-yard box. Eric Stewart’s one-touch shot ricocheted off Massapequa’s Steven Mahan (five saves) and onto Hilke’s foot by the left post.
All Hilke needed to do was tap it in. After he did, he ripped off his jersey and sprinted to the southeast corner of the field to celebrate in front of the parking lot instead of the opposite side where Calhoun’s fans were jumping and screaming.
“No,” Hilke said when asked if he knew where he was running. “It was just a lot of emotion at the time.”
If not for spectacular defensive play by Massapequa (12-5-1), Hilke would not have needed to answer that question. The Colts (12-2) created several chances near the middle of the second half but could not capitalize.
In the 54th minute, Calhoun’s Michael Harten sent a free kick into the box. Mahan came out of goal but could only bat the ball away. An ensuing header was on trajectory for the open net, but Tyler Hutchinson rose as the last line of defense and headed the ball into space.
Jake Bresnihan made a nearly identical play eight minutes later, and Mahan dove to save Alex Sipos’ shot to the left corner in the 66th minute.
But despite Massapequa’s effort, the Colts persevered. They were rewarded early in overtime, thanks to a sophomore with a burgeoning reputation.
Said Stewart, “[Hilke] always comes up big in overtime in the right place, right time.”