RENO — Until a year ago, Las Vegas High School didn’t own a state championship in boys soccer.
Now the Wildcats have two in a row.
Las Vegas beat Bishop Gorman in a penalty-kick shootout Saturday afternoon at Damonte Ranch High to repeat as Class 4A state champions. The Wildcats and Gaels played to a 1-1 draw through regulation and two overtime periods, before Las Vegas won 4-3 on penalty kicks.
“Back to back; it feels great,” Las Vegas goalkeeper Roger Zaragoza said.
Zaragoza’s diving save against Kiril Boev on Gorman’s third penalty kick ultimately proved to be the difference.
“I decided to go to my left, so I went, and he shot it there,” Zaragoza said.
Both teams had multiple scoring chances in both overtime periods.
In the fifth minute of the first overtime, Las Vegas’ Joaquin Rivas sent a crossing pass to Ruben Amezcua, whose shot sailed wide. In the 12th minute, Zaragoza roamed far from the net to force a difficult angle on a shot, which hit the left goalpost and bounded away.
Bishop Gorman’s Roberto Orellana appeared to win the game in the 10th minute of the first overtime with a header that found the back of the net, but the goal was waved off because of an offside call.
In the 10th minute of the second overtime, Gorman’s Michael Gray bore down on Zaragoza on a breakaway, but his shot sailed wide right.
Zaragoza said he breathed a sigh of relief after facing a flurry of shots in the two overtime periods.
“I just didn’t want to get scored on another bad goal,” he said.
The Gaels took a 1-0 lead on a mistake by Zaragoza. Connor Zanoni’s 55-yard free kick bounced away from Zaragoza and into the net in the 32nd minute.
The Wildcats peppered Gorman goalkeeper Jake O’Rourke throughout the second half but didn’t beat him until Ivan Chamorro got a header past him in the 75th minute to tie it at 1.
“I felt we had so many chances, but these boys deserved that goal,” Las Vegas coach Vince Hart said.
In the shootout, Las Vegas got goals from its first four shooters: Amezcua, Rivas, Chamorro and Anthony Acosta. Gorman countered with goals by Shane Thompson and Zanoni on its first two attempts.
After Zaragoza’s save against Boev, Sean Zaher kept Gorman alive when his shot went past Zaragoza into the net.
On the final attempt for Las Vegas, a shot by Aaron Lopez was wide right, giving Gorman the chance to tie, but Glenn Anderson’s shot was wide left.