Jack Medolla spent his childhood watching his brothers win championships for Jericho boys soccer.
On Wednesday evening, he had a championship moment of his own that rivals the best in program history.
Medolla scored with three seconds remaining to lead No. 1 Jericho to a 2-1 win over No. 2 Garden City in the Nassau Class A championship at Mitchel Athletic Complex. Medolla scored after Jordan Miller took a corner kick with about 10 seconds left and played it short to Ari Kantorowitz, who hit the ball into the box, where it found an open Medolla.
Jericho (16-1) will face the winner of Thursday’s Hauppauge-Sayville match in the Long Island championship at noon on Sunday at Farmingdale State.
“I’ve wanted to be here for so long and win this,” Medolla said. “I’ve seen my brothers Derek and Alex do it and I’ve always wanted to see how it felt. And I finally know. This is a moment I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.” Derek won state titles in 2011 and 2012 and Alex won in 2013, and their brother Luke also played for the Jayhawks.
“We ran one of our plays and played it short to Ari,” he said of the final sequence. “He usually takes a shot but on the shot, he whiffed a little, and I saw it [6 yards out] and knew I had to get my foot to it. And then I just saw it hit the back of the net.”
Garden City (15-1-3) controlled large stretches of the game, but Jericho scored first on a counterattack after Miller played a precise long ball to Kian Ghazzini on the right flank. Ghazzini beat his man and slotted the ball to Kantorowitz, who opened the scoring with about 22 minutes left in the first half.
“If Kian isn’t the fastest player in the league, he’s up there,” Kantorowitz said. “Once he got the ball, I had to run my fastest to get into a place where I could score. I knew he would play the ball in perfectly.”
The Trojans responded by continuing to apply pressure and finally got a breakthrough in the 36th minute, thanks to a nice finish from Owen Heaney. That was the extent of the damage they would do, in large part because of a strong game from Jericho keeper Jake Levy (12 saves).
“I knew they had a lot of strong strikers and making that first save in the beginning got me ready for what else they could bring,” Levy said, referring to a point-blank stop he made in the ninth minute.
“They’re amazing players,” Miller said of Garden City. “The two best teams in the county came to play tonight, and we got a bounce at the end. We play 80 minutes for a reason.”