RENO — Scoring in playoff soccer games shouldn’t be as easy as Coronado made it look Friday.
On the strength of three first-half goals within a stretch of 19 minutes, the Cougars’ boys soccer team beat North Valleys 3-0 to advance to Saturday’s Class 4A state championship game against Wooster.
“We just do what we do every game,” Coronado coach Dustin Barton said. “We scored goals, that’s what we do. That’s what we focus on.”
Coronado (25-2-3) will play the Colts (11-3-3) at noon at North Valleys for the state title. It is the Cougars’ second trip in a row to the championship game after falling to Galena in overtime last year.
Alfredo Diaz got the scoring started in the 16th minute, then in the 29th minute, John Lynam found the net for a 2-0 Coronado lead. Six minutes later, Lincoln Aquino found himself all alone with the ball and buried it for a 3-0 lead.
“This is all we’ve thought about since last year when we lost to Galena,” Barton said. “This is all we’ve been working for and we’re glad to be back, so we can’t wait.”
North Valleys’ best scoring chance came in the 77th minute, when a crossing pass left a North Valleys player all alone with the ball to the left of the penalty box, but his shot was swallowed up by Coronado goalkeeper Bradley Bolduc.
Bolduc preserved the shutout in the 78th minute when he swallowed up a North Valleys corner kick, and the Cougars rushed downfield after his punt, where Lynam put the exclamation point with his second goal of the game.
“This is all we wanted all season, it’s what we’ve been working for the whole time,” Lynam said. “We’re going to work hard tomorrow and get it done, hopefully.”
The Panthers ended the year 17-5-3.
Wooster 3, Bishop Gorman 2 — At North Valleys, the Colts, shorthanded after their goalie was given a red card, scored in the final minute of the second overtime to beat the Gaels 3-2 in the other semifinal.
Hayden Gross scored for Bishop Gorman (20-2-4) with about 15 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 2-2, but Alan Munoz scored for Wooster in the 110th minute of the second overtime.
Wooster goalkeeper Ben Ginn was issued a red card in the 53rd minute after he raced out of the goal and shoved a Bishop Gorman player in the back during a scuffle in which several yellow cards were issued. In all, at least 11 yellow cards were issued in the game, but Ginn’s ejection means he has to sit out the Saturday’s championship game.
“It’s a difficult one, coming back the last minute to tie and get to overtime,” Bishop Gorman coach Tommy Tate said. “I think on a different day, maybe a different result. For my boys, it’s a difficult loss to take and hopefully we can build off of this for the future and get a little bit tighter late in games.”