It was a golden goal. It was a golden moment. An indescribable one, too.
“I’m speechless. I don’t even know how I did it,” Matt Vowinkel said after collecting a long clearing pass from John Murphy and scoring the winning goal in the fourth minute of the second overtime period as Chaminade beat rival St. Anthony’s, 2-1, in the CHSAA championship game Sunday night at Adelphi’s Motamed Field.
The Flyers (16-3-2), who won the league title for the second straight year, will face New York City champion Fordham Prep on Friday at St. John’s University in a CHSAA state semifinal.
After a scoreless first overtime in which each team had a good scoring chance, the Flyers’ game-winner came suddenly from what seemed like a routine defensive clear. “There were two forwards pressuring me, so I was going to just kick it past them,” Murphy said. “But with the wind, I thought the ball would keep going and I just kicked it as far as I could and put it beyond the defense.”
That’s where Vowinkel adroitly trapped it, moved forward a couple of steps and blasted home the winner high into the left-hand corner. “What Matt was able to do was just amazing,” Murphy said.
But not totally unexpected. Vowinkel, a Hofstra-bound senior, also scored Chaminade’s first goal, heading home a beautifully delivered corner kick from Tim Davis in the 10th minute for a 1-0 lead.
Vowinkel, the reigning New York State Gatorade Player of the Year, has scored 14 goals. He not only was named game MVP but league MVP.
“With all that pressure on him, he certainly held up the mantle for himself and for Chaminade,” Flyers coach Mike Gallagher said. “It was next year’s captain [Murphy, a junior] to this year’s captain. What a fantastic finish.”
The golden goal was made necessary because St. Anthony’s (18-2-3 and the regular-season league champion) also had some sterling moments. The Friars tied the score five minutes before halftime on another picture-perfect goal. Giancarlo Franco, who only two minutes earlier had been robbed by Chaminade’s Yanni Rigos, tied it with his 12th goal of the season on a deft feed from Dom Pugliese.
The Flyers had the better of the play in the second half, but Rob Leamey (five saves) came up big twice, including a diving stop of a shot by Vowinkel in the 55th minute. Rigos was tested in the first overtime by Cole Orent and had to make a sprawling save.
That left it up to Murphy and Vowinkel to make some magic in the second OT. “Extreme jubilation” is how Murphy described his postgame emotions.
Solid gold is another way to frame it.