6A playoffs: Hamblin’s 3 assists help Syracuse boys soccer past Roy in 5-goal thriller
ROY — Ryken Hamblin’s prowess as a stand-up comedian is unknown. But on the soccer pitch Tuesday night, the Syracuse High forward’s delivery was on point.
Hamblin delivered three outstanding assists, all from set pieces, as the No. 12 Titans beat No. 5 Roy 3-2 in a 6A second-round playoff game where all five of the game’s goals were scored on set pieces.
The third assist came on a 31-yard free kick from the right side in the 74th minute of a 2-2 game, with the ball spinning and dropping over Roy goalkeeper Colby Frokjer and onto the back of Syracuse’s Ryker Smith for the game-winning goal at the back post.
“I just felt the trust from my teammates and I knew that I had to come in clutch and put it in the best position for my team to score,” Hamblin said.
No. 12 Syracuse (10-7) moves on to Thursday’s quarterfinal at No. 4 Farmington, against whom the Titans lost both Region 1 meetings this season by one goal, including once in extra time.
Roy’s (13-3) Hunter Patterson dropped a free kick right in between the goalkeeper and the defenders, right on Beau Belnap’s head for a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
Syracuse still controlled the game from a possession standpoint and Jack Cook’s close-range header from Hamblin’s right-side corner kick leveled the game in the 22nd minute.
Four minutes later, Aidan Hart’s throw-in from near the corner flag traveled to the back post, where someone got a glancing header to it before Corben Schuffenhauer smashed in a goal from a couple yards out, making it 2-1 for Roy.
Hamblin produced his second exceptional cross in the 29th minute in a precursor of things to come: just too high for Frokjer’s outstretched hand and right on Cook’s head at the back post for an open goal, and a 2-2 score. It was Cook’s 10th goal of the season, scored on a night where Hamblin bumped his season assist tally to 10.
“The first two, I definitely tried to put it in the best position and the last one I got an assist on, I tried to put it top corner and I thought it was money and it was perfect,” Hamblin said.
For the first 34 minutes of the second half, Frokjer stopped every Syracuse cross, shot or awkward pass that got near him as the Titans controlled possession again in the second half.
Roy was always a threat in the attacking third, particularly with Hart’s throw-in ability. But a foul on the right side with six minutes left gave Hamblin another chance to drop a free kick into a dangerous area, and the senior did what he’d done twice before.
The free kick was on target and heading in; Smith’s back put the free kick into the net that much quicker.
“We had a great season, the kids played phenomenal, today’s a different game. We know when you get into playoffs that anything can happen, and the style (Syracuse) played wasn’t a style we were 100% used to, so a couple of their things beat us,” Roy coach Craig Charlesworth said.
Hart’s last-ditch throw-in for Roy went off a head and out of bounds, ending the Royals’ Region 2-champion season. A competitive, foul-filled game ended with the Titans’ team celebrating near its sideline around a handful of Roy players, and a fight between the teams broke out that needed coach intervention.
By next season, both teams will be experiencing something different. Roy will be in 5A Region 5 along with the likes of Bonneville, Box Elder, Clearfield and Northridge, while Syracuse will have a new head coach, as Taylor Allen is going into administration.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.