Lilavois Leads Cougars To Open Cup Final Four Win
LIVERMORE, Calif. - Despite trailing 2-0 in the first quarter to the Tacoma Stars, the Stockton Cougars walked away from Cabernet Indoor Sports in Livermore, CA with a hard fought 11-8 US Open Cup Semifinal victory. Head coach/forward Bernie Lilavois scored four goals in the win and added two assists for a game high six points. Player/coach Greg Howes had three goals and one assist for Tacoma in the loss.
The win puts the Cougars into the Open Cup championship match to be played in late March.
The Cougars next play in the Professional Arena Soccer League Championship tournament scheduled for a 7:30PM start at Stockton Arena on March 14. Tickets are available through the Cougars' front office by calling (209) 373-1550 and by visiting www.stocktontickets.com. The six team tournament begins on Friday March 13 and 5:00PM.
Stockton fell behind for third straight game when Tacoma took the early lead with first quarter goals from Lukas Ryberg and James McDonnell at the 12:23 and 12:17 mark respectively.
They marched back into the match with late first quarter scores from Lilavois and Majell Aterado. Aterado assisted Lilavois to put Stockton on the board for the first time and Lilavois returned the favor on Aterado's game tying goal.
The teams entered the second quarter at the 2-2 tie, but that quickly changed when Brian Farber opened the quarter with a goal at the 13:47 mark of the second. It was assisted by Lilavois and gave Stockton their first lead of the match.
Stockton went on to score four straight goals after Farber's first of the match. Aterado scored again with 12:09 remaining and Aaron Susi scored his first with 8:23 left. Susi's goal was scored from a few steps inside the halfway line.
Lilavois gave his team the 6-2 lead with a goal assisted by Uriel Robledo, but that is where the streak stopped.
Howes was able to connect on a free kick for the first of two times in the match with 6:30 remaining in the half.
Lilavois answered Howes' goal with his third of the half with 3:51 remaining. His goal was assisted by Aterado, the third assist for him.
Jerry Luppy of the Stars closed the half with late goal to bring the first half score to 7-4.
It took Stockton the majority of the first quarter to adjust to the small field in Livermore. It was an adjustment that carried them the rest of the match.
Antonio Sutton started the half with a quick unassisted third quarter goal. Farber then followed with his second of the game and Lilavois answered with his fourth.
Momentum, however, began to slip away from Stockton after Lilavois' goal. Tacoma stopped Stockton's second streak of three straight goals with a streak of their own. Led by Howes, Tacoma scored three straight times between the end of the third and fourth quarters.
Jeff Bader scored Tacoma's fifth goal and Howes connected on their sixth. Howes' goal was a free kick power play goal that happened with three seconds left in the quarter. Mark Lee then got in the mix with his lone goal of the match. Lee's goal cut the lead to 10-7.
Needing an answer to Tacoma's sudden resurgence, Stockton looked to their defense to slow things down in the chaotic second half. Sutton answered with block and after block to halt Howes and his offense. Matt McDougall stepped up as well and completely shut down any Tacoma attack with several remarkable second half saves.
The same performance was turned in by Tacoma goalkeeper Chris Kintz. His stellar second half play slowed the Cougars down to a crawl in the final two quarters. However, Tacoma's inability to kill a late power play allowed Nelson Santana to deliver the closing blow. His fourth quarter, power play, goal with 3:10 remaining quieted the Stars and helped deliver the 11-8 win.
Howes had the last goal of the match with 2:41 remaining.
Farber's third quarter goal with 8:43 remaining was the game winner.
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