Millison leads BLHS to victory
When Stephen Millison climbed into his car after Monday night's game against Perry-Lecompton, his windshield had been fittingly decorated.
The words "Best Soccer Stud Ever," were painted with an arrow pointing to a box over the driver's side. As Millison sat behind the wheel, he filled the box.
He played the role of hero on this night, scoring a second-half goal to force overtime and punching a goal in on a breakaway in the second overtime to send the Bobcats to a tense victory. The win helped to avoid for the Bobcats what was becoming a shocking collapse--after the team began 8-0 with the number one ranking in the state, the Bobcats were blown out in consecutive games last week by Mill Valley (7-0) and Lansing (5-2).
"I'm elated," Millison said. "This is as excited as I've been for a while."
The Bobcats seemed headed for certain calamity as PLHS's Ryan Walker scored in the game's first 10 minutes. Midway through the first half, Walker scored again to apparently put the Kaws up 2-0. The referee blew a late whistle, calling offside, and waiving off the goal to the protestations of the Kaws.
The Bobcats entered halftime trailing by a score of 1-0.
BLHS finally broke through with 24 minutes left in the second half on Millison's first goal. Millison and Ryan Sirridge both had big shots on goal from point-blank range in the next 15 minutes that goalie Bryce Walker leaped to save, preserving the tie through regulation.
The Bobcats continued their assault on the goal in the first overtime period. With four minutes left, Sam Seaman was perfectly set up for a header on the left side of the goal. Walker swatted it harmlessly away.
Millison ended the game two minutes into the second overtime period after Seaman set him up with a centering pass. Millison beat one defender, and had Tanner Bowers flanking him, for a 2-on-0.
"I figured if I shot it and missed, it would rebound to him for an open shot," Millison said.
It wasn't necessary, as Millison beat the goaltender and set off a frenzied celebration on Senior Night.
"It was kind of the perfect ending," coach Kevin Vincent said. "Steve's worked hard and has emerged as our leader on the offensive front. For him to get the goal on Senior Night in overtime against a good Perry team... you couldn't ask for a better ending."
The Bobcats out shot the Kaws, 18-9, but an outstanding night by Walker in goal kept the game even.
"In the second half, I thought we came back with a vengeance and played tough, but their keeper was all over the place and made some spectacular saves," Vincent said. "I told them at halftime and then at the end of regulation that if we keep knocking it's going to happen. That's the game of soccer -- if you get 100 shots, eventually you'll get one in. I knew if we just kept playing hard and shooting, we would get one."
BLHS goalie Matthew Murrell, who had eight saves, was just happy to escape with the win.
"We have a lot more confidence now that we got that W," Murrell said. "They got that goal on us, and we got down on ourselves. It took us a little bit to get back up. When we got that first goal from Steve, we knew that we were going to win."