Cimarron-Memorial boys soccer coach Mark Bailey was content leaving Green Valley on Saturday night with a scoreless draw.
The fact the Spartans were able to hoist a trophy at the end of a long day only added to his satisfaction.
Cimarron held on for the final 19 minutes of the second half after being reduced to 10 players and defeated the host Gators 5-3 in penalty kicks in the championship game of the Southern Nevada Kick-Off Classic.
“We got 18 more games. I’m not trying to pump my own guys up, but that’s probably two of the best teams in the city, probably two of the best teams in the state,” Bailey said. “They just bunkered down, and we absorbed everything. Hard-fought game. I loved it.”
Edgar Carrillo-Nunez sealed the victory for Cimarron (4-0-1) by converting the final penalty kick with a well-placed shot into the upper right corner. Carlo Quesada, Ernan Hernandez, Gustavo Garcia-Reyes and Roberto Elicerio also were successful on their attempts for the Spartans, who advanced to the Division I state tournament last year.
Connor Malone, Alex Gibson and Maliq Cooper scored for the Gators (4-0-1) in penalty kicks. Green Valley’s Ricardo Nunez, who nearly won the game in the second half, sent his attempt over the bar to give the Spartans the advantage after the second round of PKs.
“We know we can win five games in a row, and you’ve got to do that to win state. And we know we can beat one of the best teams in the city,” Bailey said. “We know we can beat good teams five in a row, and that’s big for me. I like that.”
Green Valley, which dominated possession for most of the first half without generating many chances, had the best scoring opportunities in the second half. Nunez sent a header just wide in the 43rd minute and then smashed a long-range shot off the crossbar in the 50th minute.
Less than a minute later, Cimarron goalkeeper Richard Crews was forced to make a diving save on Nunez’s drive from outside the 18-yard box that took a deflection.
Green Valley appeared to take the lead early in the second half when Malone tapped home Nunez’s cross from close range, but it was ruled out for offsides.
“The post saved us, but I’ll take it. That’s soccer, man,” Bailey said. “We have some things to fix, and we didn’t have Dresden Quackenbush for the whole tournament. He’s a kid who’s coming back, so we know we can get better.
“Skin-of-our-teeth scorelines in a couple of those other games. Those are games we feel like we dominated, but scorelines maybe not so much. We’ve got some work to do.”
Cimarron proved dangerous on the counter attack in the first half, and the Spartans’ best chance came in the ninth minute. Hernandez deflected Braydon Lopez’s attempted clearance near the top of the box, and Green Valley goalkeeper Salvatore Hicks intervened just before Hernandez could get another touch on the ball.
Hicks had two saves for the Gators, who also had a penalty appeal in the first half waved off.
Green Valley’s Antonio Trama earned the tournament’s Golden Boot award.
Green Valley 2, Western 1 — Trama converted a first-half penalty kick, and Cooper added a second-half goal as the Gators nipped the Warriors in a semifinal.
Isaac Arellano scored for Western.
Cimarron-Memorial 2, Tech 1 — Hernandez scored on a breakaway with seven minutes left to lift the Spartans by the Roadrunners in the other semifinal.
Garcia-Reyes also scored, and Miguel Rubio had two assists for Cimarron.
Alejandro Carmona scored for Tech.
Green Valley 3, Clark 0 — Malone assisted on all three goals as the Gators blanked the Chargers.
Cooper, Trama and Estevan Uribe scored for Green Valley.
Hicks made six saves to earn the shutout.
Tech 2, Cheyenne 0 — Joel Velazquez and Asish Pandey each scored once in the first half to lead the Roadrunners by the Desert Shields.
Tyler Harvey and David Alfaro combined on the shutout for Tech.
Cimarron-Memorial 1, Legacy 0 — Sean Iveson scored midway through the second half to lift the Spartans by the Longhorns.
Crews and Dylan Crosby-Moghadam combined on the shutout for Cimarron.
Legacy received a red card just three minutes into the match and played short-handed the rest of the way.
Western 1, Las Vegas 0 — Angel Gutierrez’s goal with two minutes left in the match allowed the Warriors to nip the Wildcats.
Jose Anaya made three saves en route to the shutout.
Durango 3, Coronado 2 — Oscar Rodriguez had a goal and an assist to help the Trailblazers hold off the Cougars.
Carlos Palacios and Tyson Tesfamariam also scored for Durango.
John Lynam and Michael Ocoro scored for Coronado.
Sierra Vista 2, Chaparral 1 — Giovanni D’Ascenzo scored twice in the final 12 minutes of the match to rally the Mountain Lions by the Cowboys.
Leo Gutierrez scored in the first half for Chaparral.
Foothill 2, Palo Verde 1 — Michael Carnahan scored two first-half goals, and the Falcons held off the Panthers.
Henry Roblado scored for Palo Verde.
Arbor View 2, Liberty 0 — Isaac Linscomb and Niko Dongmann each scored once to lift the Aggies by the Patriots.
Gabe Sano made four saves to earn the shuout.