LYNN — Joey Carney had a decision to make a week before the season; stick with his plan and join an MLS Next club or return to Oliver Ames for a final ride with his high school team. He chose the latter because he believed the Tigers could be back-to-back state champions.
Three months later, that belief paid off.
Carney scored the overtime winner for the Tigers, a drilled shot four minutes into the extra period, to power sixth-seeded Oliver Ames past No. 5 Wakefield, 1-0, Saturday at Manning Field for its second straight Division 2 championship.
“I know later, the emotions will really settle in and I’ll know it’s finally over,” Carney said. “But to end on a note like this, you can’t get anything better.”
For the Tigers (19-3-1), it was their second straight overtime win following a 2-1 victory over Melrose in the semifinals. Carney assisted on that winning goal, but he did it all himself on Saturday.
The Bentley commit skipped past one defender on the outside and turned on the jets to accelerate past another. With a tight angle, he fired a low shot past Wakefield goalie Andrew Valley.
“Once I saw him get outside on the right for the first time all day, I was like ‘It’s over,’” Oliver Ames coach John Barata said. “Because we knew he was going to hit it. He’s a gift. Bentley is going to be so lucky to have him.”
Valley made eight first-half saves — two against Carney — to keep the Warriors (17-4-2) in the game early despite a lack of shots. But when the Warriors finally got a look in the second half, OA’s Diego Rivera cleared a shot from Jack Millward off the line to keep the game scoreless.
Barata credited Rivera along with Jackson Mercieri, Nick Babanikas, and Luke and Craig Churchill, for keeping Wakefield at bay.
“We were able to neutralize a few of their big threats and I thought that’s what the difference was,” Barata said.