No area goalkeeper had been better in the postseason than Green Valley’s Phillip McGovern.
But Eldorado finally found a way to get the ball past the Gators keeper on Saturday.
The Sundevils controlled the tempo and managed to beat McGovern twice to secure a 2-1 win over the Gators for the Sunrise Region boys soccer title at Faith Lutheran.
Eldorado (18-2-1) earned a trip to next week’s Class 4A state tournament in Reno.
“He’s been on fire,” Eldorado coach Gerald Pentsil said of McGovern, who posted shutouts in the team’s first two playoff games and had 11 saves Saturday. “Their goalie was the difference in us not scoring more.”
McGovern withstood an early barrage of shots before a rare mistake cost him. Eldorado’s Chris Perez sent a long pass forward to Luis Cruz. McGovern started to come after the ball, then got caught off his line as he scrambled to get back, and Cruz made him pay, chipping the ball into the left corner for a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute.
“Chris gave me a good pass,” Cruz said. “I saw the keeper coming at me and he ran too much to the right, and I just saw the left side (open).”
The Sundevils tacked onto that lead, striking three minutes after halftime. McGovern made a sliding save of one shot, but Edgar Duran corralled the loose ball and put it into the net for a 2-0 advantage.
Green Valley (12-5-1) made it 2-1 on a goal by Carter Crompton in the 53rd minute.
Crompton’s goal came after a Green Valley corner kick. Eldorado goalkeeper Sammy Tapia tried to punch the ball out but was unable to clear it, and Crompton came up with the ball in front of the net.
Eldorado had several opportunities to extend the lead, but McGovern turned the Sundevils away each time, including a save from point-blank range on a shot by Duran in the 67th minute.
Eldorado had 22 shots in the game, compared with seven for Green Valley.
“I look at the positive side,” Pentsil said. “We created quite a few chances. I wish we had put a few more away, but I’m happy about that. That means if we continue to work, they’ll come. We score enough to win, and that helps. If we created those chances and didn’t win, I’d be upset.”
Many of Green Valley’s top scoring chances came in the final six minutes, but the Gators sent two shots just wide and were unable to take advantage two opportunities off a corner kick.
It is the first Sunrise Region title for Eldorado, whose last postseason championship came in 1994, when the Sundevils won the Southern Zone.
“Being here for four years and senior year finally winning it, it’s an amazing experience,” Cruz said.
“It feels great. I have no words for this right now.”