It came down to penalties and a miraculous save by a freshman keeper, but three former high school soccer standouts from the area helped lead Georgetown University to the school’s first national championship.
Pleasantville’s Dante Polvara, Rye’s Will Sands, who both graduated from the Brunswick School in Greenwich, and Thornwood’s Jack Beer, who was a former captain at Byram Hills High School, took center stage during the biggest game of their lives, helping the Hoyas win 7-6 in penalty kicks against No. 1 Virginia in a game played Sunday night, Dec. 15 in Cary, North Carolina.
It was a thrilling game for the Hoyas, who took the game to penalty kicks after the score remained 3-3 after three overtime periods after the University of Virginia tied it up in the 86th minute.
The two exhausted squads couldn’t finish in overtime, despite chances, sending it to penalties.
All 10 shooters made their kicks in the first five rounds, including Polvara, who gave Georgetown a 4-3 lead in the first round of penalties.
In the seventh round, Aidan Rocha put the Hoyas up 7-6, setting the stage for freshman goalie Tomas Romero, who made a diving save to his right to bat Axel Gunnarsson’s shot away, sending Georgetown to its first title.
Polvara, a 6-foot-4 forward attended preseason with NYCFC's first team, appearing in exhibitions against the LA Galaxy, LAFC and Real Salt Lake. He finished the regular season with four goals and two assists in 24 games.
Sands was one of 28 players selected for U.S. Residency Program at IMG to prepare for U-17 World Cup in India in 2017, scoring four goals in eight international games for the U-17 U.S. National Team. He had one goal and one assist in 21 games for the Hoyas over the regular season.
Beer was selected as a United Soccer Coaches All-American and NYSPHSAA Section One Player of the Year in 2016. The junior had 31 goals and 20 assists in 35 games over his final two seasons. In his career, he’s scored 12 points on four goals and four assists in 44 games.
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