PV perfect in regular season
With an undefeated season on the line, Pleasant Valley turned to its seniors one more time.
Facing a late deficit in their Mountain Valley Conference and regular season finale against rival Stroudsburg, the Bears used late game heroics from captains Connor Phillips and Cole Bernier to claim a 4-3 overtime win over the Mounties and finish the season a perfect 18-0.
"They're a hell of a team," Pleasant Valley coach Chris Pachuta said of Stroudsburg. "They've been right with us all season. Both games against them have been back-and-forth and tonight was no different.
"We threw guys out there and said 'This is up to you guys.' They wanted to be undefeated and we were trying to set a precedent heading into (district playoffs) next week that we know what we're doing and we're taking care of business."
The Bears handled business early, taking a 1-0 lead into halftime after an early first half goal by Hako Beskovic off a free kick. Beskovic would add another goal on a breakaway early in the second half to give Pleasant Valley what seemed to be a commanding 2-0 lead.
But the tide turned quickly on the Bears, as the Mounties (14-3, 10-2) roared back with two goals in less than five minutes from senior Gabe Beebe to tie the game and put thoughts of a perfect season in doubt.
Stroudsburg kept the second half momentum on its side, controlling possession and never allowing Pleasant Valley to regroup after being stunned by Beebe's two quick goals.
The Mounties struck once again with just under seven minutes left in regulation, as Caesar Hernandez took the ball off a throw in and put it in the back of the net to give Stroudsburg its first lead of the contest.
With Pleasant Valley failing to cash in on its scoring chances and Stroudsburg controlling the tempo, opportunities for the Bears to even the score began to dry up as time ran out.
But trailing late in a game was nothing new for the Pleasant Valley, which made a late comeback to defeat Pocono Mountain East in overtime earlier this week.
"Since I've been here, I've always instilled that idea of never die," Pachuta said. "You go until that last whistle and leave everything on the field; all those cliché ideas."
And for the second time this week and 18th time this season, his team did just that.
With just under a minute remaining, Bears' senior Connor Phillips controlled the ball in front of the net just long enough to put it past Mounties' keeper Nicolas Ruiz to tie the game and send it into overtime.
With the end of the extra period looming, PV's Cole Bernier handled a corner kick in the box and put it past Ruiz with just over 20 seconds left for the game winner.
"Those guys (Phillips and Bernier) have been the heart and sole of this program for years now," Pachuta said. "I would take those two to battle with me any day."
For Bernier, winning the battle against Stroudsburg was the culmination of an up-and-down season derailed by injury.
"Since I was out for half the year with a back injury, it just feels amazing to be able to help my team do this after all the hard work we've put in this season," the senior said.