Western’s boys soccer team is getting used to extra time.
After winning its past two games in overtime, the Warriors found themselves playing beyond 80 minutes in the Class 3A Southern Region title game Saturday at Bettye Wilson Park.
And as they have all season, they capitalized.
Ten minutes into overtime, Western’s Juan Arredondo-Alvarez scored on a penalty kick to give the Warriors a 2-1 win over Chaparral and their first region championship in school history.
“I was really, really nervous, but you have to do what you have to do. I needed to score that,” Arredondo-Alvarez said. “It’s an amazing feeling. It’s my first year playing high school, so what better feeling than to win this year?”
The penalty kick was full of intrigue, as Western (16-6-2) was granted the penalty because of a hand ball in the box in the 90th minute. Chaparral keeper Juan Romero was assessed a yellow card, forcing a substitution to keeper Gustavo Barajas, who had no time to warm up.
Arredondo-Alvarez didn’t wait around. As soon as the referee signaled he could go, he launched a missile inside the right post to win the game.
“Something we say is when your legs can’t do it and your mind can’t think it, make sure the thing in between can do it, so make sure your heart is what drives you through,” Western coach Kory Pippen said. “After a whole week of overtime after overtime, it just seemed right to do it this way.”
It was Western’s third win of the tournament, and the third trip to overtime. David Ginsburg lifted the Warriors over Tech on Tuesday, and Christian Macias ended Del Sol’s undefeated season in double overtime Thursday.
“Something in us this year has been clutch,” Pippen said.
Western had its first strong opportunity to score in the 27th minute that went high. They maintained pressure in front of the goal, and Juan Estrada snuck the ball in three minutes later.
That lead would stand through the half and into the 68th minute when Miguel Mendoza chipped the ball over the Warriors’ defense and right to Alexander Caro, who tied the game for Chaparral (16-8-2).
Into overtime they went, before the hand ball in the 90th minute. Arredondo-Alvarez did the rest and set the Warriors up to play North Tahoe, the No. 2 seed from the Northern Region, at 4 p.m. Friday. Win that, and they’ll be playing for a state championship.
“The hard part is you have to find a certain amount of time to be proud for them, but make sure they’re not too content,” Pippen said. “Deep in our minds and our hearts we know state is what we want.
“If our true goal is to win a state title, then the best way we can do that is get ourselves a better seed for Friday.”