Round ball or not, Connor Tierney knows how to make it bend.
With an impressive curve on a free kick, the Aquinas soccer player – and former kicker on the football team – finished off his team’s comeback from two goals down with less than eight minutes left in a 3-2 win against Our Lady of Mercy in a GHSA Class A state quarterfinal game Friday night.
Tierney, who made seven field goals in the football state playoffs, helped take the soccer squad one step farther with his perfect kick.
“We know we can play at the end of the game,” the senior said. “We have to play well throughout, but we know we can pull it out.”
Days after Tierney’s throw in to Matt Moses for Moses’ finish gave Aquinas a game-winning goal with less than a minute to play in the second round, the Fighting Irish
(15-2-1) made it even tougher on themselves.
The Bobcats were cruising, with Nick Wells and Minh Bui scoring for a 2-0 lead. The second strike came with 18:39 left, a tough hill to climb for Aquinas, which had a couple golden chances earlier.
First, Moses hit a post in the opening minutes. Later, with the score 1-0, a cross toward the Our Lady of Mercy box eventually found the foot off Aquinas’ Zach Lovering. But he missed an open chance when he fired over the bar.
With time running out, Aquinas coach Kevin Trammell remembers talking to some bench players about next season while also trying to voice encouragement.
But, again, the Irish had some heroics – with some help.
First, a goalie’s mistake allowed Matt Tuschen to score Aquinas’ first goal.
Then, with 2:55 remaining, Moses passed to Marcus Wade, who fired a shot low and to the right past the goalie to tie the game.
All the pressure continued to come from Aquinas after that, and following a tackle outside the box, Tierney beat the wall and the goalie with 67 seconds left.