CASTLETON,NY — For Garrett Axtmann, Maple Hill’s annual Fall Sports Weekend soccer tournament has been a tradition from modified all the way up to the big stage. This year’s tournament would prove to be his most memorable and not just because it was his last.
Just two minutes and 49 seconds into the game the “red tornado,” as expressed by his third-grade bus driver, put one in the net, forever changing the game. “In big games when you score your first goal you know you’re not going to get shut out, which is good,” said head coach Dan Gillespie.
24 minutes and 11 seconds later, Axtmann’s goal remained key as the Wildcats held a 1-0 lead at the half, but the tornado wasn’t done swirling through Galway’s defense
15 minutes into the second half, the senior scored what may go down as one of the best goals all season, when he touched it while facing the other way, turned when the ball was in the air and hit it on the way down.
It was the type of thing one would expect to see on Sports Center’s top 10 plays. “I wasn’t really thinking on that, my teammate just kinda kicked it and I put it in there. It was pretty good and felt nice,” said Axtmann.
That goal, Axtmann’s second in the game and 93rd of his career, combined with a strong defensive unit lead by John Paul Kulpa and Noah Roberts would shutout the Indians, 2-0.
“It’s amazing and I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone other than these guys. We have been together playing since we were little and it means the world that we won on my last year on the team,” said the Maple Hill senior who also leads the Patroon Conference for goals at 32 this season.
What the scoreboard didn’t show was the work of Galway keeper, Shane Brownell, who for his work of 11 saves landed him the tournament’s most outstanding defensive player award.
It should come as no surprise that for his work, Axtmann received most outstanding offensive player of the tournament.
Axtmann and the Wildcats will have a few days off before heading out to Greenville on Thursday, to wrap up regular season play.