By Nick Gerhardt
Rochester John Marshall rallied for a 2-1 overtime victory over Northfield Thursday at Memorial Field in Northfield behind some late-game heroics.
With five minutes to play in regulation Northfield held a 1-0 lead and controlled play much of the game, generating more scoring opportunities than the Rockets but when Rochester John Marshall got a free kick in the 76th minute, a long ball made its way to Abubakar Mohamed, who buried a shot to tie the game 1-1.
The Raiders (7-5-2, 7-3 Big 9) didn’t get rewarded until the 64th minute when Pablo Orrego Zapata converted on a penalty kick with a shot into the lower left corner of the net. Manny Ramirez drew the penalty kick after getting fouled inside the 18-yard box on the right side.
Northfield had the better end of play and tallied seven corner kicks compared to just three for the Rockets.
In overtime, Rochester John Marshall drew a penalty kick of its own in the 83rd minute after getting fouled at the edge of the 18-yard box. Ralph Nah converted the penalty kick into the lower right corner of the goal for a 2-1 lead that proved the game-winner.
Both teams defended stoutly, though the Rockets (11-2-2, 8-2 Big 9) played more conservatively by putting more defenders behind the ball than Northfield much of the night.
The teams came into the game with identical conference records and with the win, Rochester John Marshall finishes the season third in the Big 9, behind Rochester Mayo and Owatonna.
It marked the fourth overtime game the Raiders have played and lowered their record in those games to 1-1-2.
The overtime loss might sting now for Northfield, but it might mark just the beginning of a battle with the Rockets, who pushed their winning streak to four games with the victory.
The loss dropped Raiders’ Section 1AAA record to 1-5-1, making Northfield and Rochester Century as the only two teams with one win against a section opponent. Lakeville North, however, has a lower QRF rank than Northfield, which could vault the Raiders to the No. 6 seed and a potential rematch with Rochester John Marshall, which slots in as the No. 3 seed in QRF rankings.
The first round of the Section 1AAA tournament kicks off Tuesday, pairings get released Sunday.