By BRIAN CUNNIFF
STONE HARBOR — Sean Dougherty helped the Wildwood Catholic High School boys soccer team erase some of the memories of a frustrating season Wednesday afternoon.
The junior forward scored with 30 seconds to play to finish off a comeback from a 2-0 halftime deficit as the Crusaders rallied for a 3-2 victory over rival Lower Cape May.
It was the season finale for both teams, a game added to the schedule only recently.
Lower Cape May, playing with the wind at its back in the opening 40 minutes, forged ahead 2-0 behind goals by Jordan Pierce and T.J. Shoffler.
Wildwood Catholic began its rally when Giacomo Antonicello netted the first of his two goals on a penalty kick after a Lower player was judged to have handled the ball in the box. Antonicello then leveled the game with about 15 minutes to go after he and C.J. Deegler put pressure on the Tiger defense deep inside the penalty area.
The game appeared headed to overtime until Crusader keeper Ben Church sent his teammates the other way with purpose after making a save. Rather than indiscriminately booting the ball downfield, Church alertly tossed the ball into space on the right side, allowing Antonicello to begin a counterattack by racing down the touchline. After taking the ball into the Lower third of the field, the senior midfielder sent the ball into the box. Dougherty was there to blast the ball into goal in the game’s dying embers. It was Dougherty’s 28th tally of the season.
Lower Cape May was awarded one final chance with a free kick following a foul, but Church made a relatively easy save just before time expired.
Wildwood Catholic finished at 4-10-1.
Lower Cape May, a team that featured no seniors on its roster, ended at 3-17-1.