Eldorado boys soccer coach David Ostler had endured a frustrating and somewhat scary 80-plus minutes Friday when he called on a sophomore with the game on the line.
His young player did not disappoint.
Roberto Gonzalez nailed the upper-left corner of the net with a penalty kick midway through the first overtime to lift the Sundevils to a dramatic 1-0 victory over Canyon Springs in the Class 4A Sunrise Region semifinals at Bettye Wilson Park.
The victory lifted the Sundevils (14-2-3) into Saturday’s noon championship game, where they will play Coronado (23-2-3).
“I just knew I had to send my team to the next round,” Gonzalez said. “I practiced that shot all season with this in mind, and I knew as soon as I shot it that it was going in.”
Ostler said Gonzalez had been in a game-winning penalty kick situation once before and missed.
“I honestly thought he was going to make this one,” Ostler said. “He missed the last one, so I knew he really wanted it.”
The victory was an unlikely one for Eldorado, which was outplayed while remaining on the defensive for most of the night. But Sundevils goalkeeper Hector Lopez and his fellow defenders stopped several strong shots by the Pioneers (13-5-2) to keep their team alive.
Ostler pointed out that his few seniors made the big plays.
“Hector came up with some big saves, and (Erick) Diaz and (Jonathan) Pinal were also great back there,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of seniors, but they were in key positions tonight.”
It was Lopez’s deflection of a sure goal late in the second half that kept the Sundevils alive to give them the opportunity. That chance came when Sebastian Ramirez was tripped just in front of the goal to set up the winning kick.
Ostler said he was not surprised by the close outcome.
“Canyon Springs was a team we really didn’t want to see here,” he said. “They’re kind of our mirror, so it was like playing against ourselves. It really could have gone either way, but sometimes you get lucky.”
Coronado 3, Rancho 0 — At Bettye Wilson Park, John Lynam had two goals and assist to lead the Cougars over the Rams in a Sunrise Region semifinal.
Jake Baldauf had a goal for the Cougars (23-2-3), and Bradley Bolduc and Ashton Murga split the shutout.
Rancho finished the year 7-9-4.
Tyson Tesfariam scored in overtime to power Durango to a 1-0 win over Cimarron-Memorial in a Sunset Region semifinal at Bettye Wilson Park.
Durango’s Nikolas Todorovich made four saves while playing the first half in goal, and teammate Jason Sotelo made two saves in the second half and overtime.
The Trailblazers (16-4-3) will be playing in their second region title game in a row at 2 p.m. Saturday against Bishop Gorman (19-1-4) at Bettye Wilson Park.
The Spartans ended their season 15-7-2.
Bishop Gorman 3, Palo Verde 2 — At Bettye Wilson Park, Hayden Madsen scored the second of his two goals for the Gaels with eight minutes remaining in regulation to break a tie beat the Panthers in the other semifinal.
The Gaels (19-1-4) took a 2-0 lead into halftime off goals from Madsen and Corrigan Neville.
Palo Verde (17-6-2) tied it with a goal from Michael Vogel and a penalty kick from Presten Manthey.
Class 3A Southern Region
Bryan Martinez and Angel Arreola scored second-half goals to lead Sunrise Mountain to a 2-0 win over Desert Pines in the Class 3A Southern Region semifinals at Bettye Wilson Park.
Marcos Plata preserved the shutout with two saves for the Miners (17-1), who will play Tech (14-5-4) in the region title game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bettye Wilson Park. Both Sunrise Mountain and Tech qualified for the state tournament.
Desert Pines ended its season 13-7.
Tech 1, Western 0 — At Bettye Wilson Park, Yobani Garcia-Benitez made 12 saves en route to a shutout and helped the Roadrunners over the Warriors in the other semifinal.
Alex Meija scored in the first half for the Roadrunners.
Western finished the year 17-5-2.
Class 3A Southern Region