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Palo Verde turns in fourth straight clean sheet to win Southern Nevada Kick-off Classic

Updated August 28, 2017 - 11:20 pm

Hudson Huckfeldt only had to make one save Monday. Palo Verde’s boys soccer team led by two in the final minute, but the junior keeper’s save on a penalty kick was important.

“Me and that goalkeeper had the same number of shutouts, so that kind of sealed the deal and made me No. 1,” Huckfeldt said with a grin.

Huckfeldt’s save on a 69th-minute penalty kick helped preserve the Panthers’ clean sheet and beat Faith Lutheran 2-0 to win the Southern Nevada Kick-off Classic at Green Valley.

It also gave Huckfeldt a Southern Nevada-leading fourth shutout.

“Superb, really. (We) got better game after game,” Palo Verde coach Garry Shackley said of his team’s performance in the tournament. “We dropped our level a bit in this game, which we are not happy about, but we did enough to get the result.”

Huckfeldt’s performance Monday capped a dominant weekend for the Panthers. Palo Verde went 6-0 in the tournament, and did not allow a goal in the final four games. It is the program’s best start since it was the state runner-up in 2014 and began the season with 18 consecutive victories.

On Monday the first half went by without too much action and the game’s second half started with a scoreless tie. The Panthers finally broke through in the 39th minute when senior Presten Manthey collected a loose ball in front of the net and tipped it in to give Palo Verde the lead. Junior Tanner Stevenson recorded the assist.

In the 63rd minute, Palo Verde scored some insurance. Junior Bryan Montoya danced his way through the defense, got the keeper out of position and kicked in the game’s second goal.

“I saw the keeper coming out and pounced on the mistake,” Montoya said. “The goal just put the game away and out of reach.”

In the 69th minute, Faith Lutheran freshman Gabriel Miranda drew a foul in the box, and lined up for a penalty kick with his team down 2-0. He shot low and to Huckfeldt’s right, and Palo Verde’s keeper made the sprawling save in front of the post.

“If they score that, then we have one minute of panic at the end,” Shackley said. “It was important that he saved that.”

The two teams will meet twice more this season once Northwest League play begins: at Palo Verde on Sept. 27 and at Faith Lutheran on Oct. 23.

Contact Justin Emerson at jemerson@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2944. Follow @J15Emerson on Twitter.

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