Bum Cho was denied on his first chance at a golden goal Thursday thanks to a marvelous save.
When Cho got a second opportunity to score in overtime, the sophomore midfielder for Spring Valley’s boys soccer team made sure to take advantage.
Cho scored 10 minutes into the first extra period, giving the Grizzlies a 2-1 victory over Shadow Ridge in a Class 4A Sunset Region semifinal at Bettye Wilson Park.
Spring Valley (9-7-4), the No. 3 seed from the Southwest League, takes on league rival Durango (19-3-2) in the title game at 10 a.m. Saturday. Durango, the No. 2 seed, beat the Grizzlies 2-1 and 4-0 during league play.
It is the first appearance in the region final for the Grizzlies, who returned to the large-school division this season after competing the past two seasons in Class 3A (formerly Division I-A).
“This is like Spring Valley history,” Cho said. “This is special for us. This is history. We’re proud of ourselves.”
Jose Lopez had a goal and an assist for Spring Valley, which played with a man-advantage for most of the game due to an early red card on Mustangs goalkeeper Jake Anderson.
Shadow Ridge (7-7-2) tied the game at 1-1 in the 67th minute when the Grizzlies failed to deal with Jonathan Perez’s low cross and the ball fell to Peter Jankowski for an easy tap-in.
“For there to be a miscommunication between a defender and the goalkeeper was a little frustrating,” Spring Valley coach James Tippett said. “But I was telling the guys, ‘Be patient. It’s going to come. You’re going to get an opportunity.’ “
Less than three minutes into overtime, Cho blasted a shot from near the top of the 18-yard box that forced Shadow Ridge backup goalie Ian Dalton into a diving save.
But in the 90th minute, Lopez’s cross from the right wing found its way to Cho, who took one touch and calmly tucked it into the corner.
“I just stayed there and the ball came to me,” Cho explained. “I said, ‘Oh, this is my chance.’ It was lucky to go in the goal.”
Spring Valley controlled possession for most of the first half but couldn’t break down the 10-man Mustangs. David Van Hoose had the Grizzlies’ best chance after a long spell of sustained pressure, but his close-range header in the 38th minute drifted wide.
Van Hoose, who created several scoring chances in the first half, was at the center of the Grizzlies’ opening goal. The talented senior midfielder raced down the left wing and whipped in a cross that Lopez redirected past Dalton in the 56th minute.
”Because we had a man-advantage, we were able to push numbers up and really go for it,” Tippett said. “Hats off to Shadow Ridge. Absolutely amazing effort from them to play an entire game a man down, and they gave us everything we wanted and more.”
Durango 2, Cimarron-Memorial 0 — Marcos Delangel-Parra and Jamie Munguia each scored, and the Trailblazers upended the defending region champion Spartans (16-4-3).
Paolo Sarnataro made five saves and stopped a penalty kick in the 35th minute to help Durango reach the region final for the first time since 2012.
“We’ve been preparing for this from the beginning of the season,” Durango coach Richard Cuellar. “My guys, I couldn’t be more proud of them. This is great for Durango.”
The Trailblazers, who avenged a loss to Cimarron in last season’s region semifinals, grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. Cimarron’s Kevin Andrade prevented a potential goal by handling the ball in the penalty area, and Delangel-Parra converted the subsequent penalty kick.
The Spartans, ranked No. 12 in the latest USA Today/National Soccer Coaches Association of America Region VIII poll, had a chance to tie the game in the 35th minute as Arturo Bahena was dragged down in the box by Durango defender Anthony Sotelo.
But Sarnataro guessed correctly and saved Bahena’s effort from the penalty spot to give the Trailblazers a huge boost before halftime.
“It lifted us a lot. It gave us hope,” Delangel-Parra said. “I believe in Paolo. If (the referee) points to the spot, I know he’ll make sure to block it.”
Durango upped its lead to 2-0 in the 61st minute when Oscar Rodriguez made a long run from midfield and found Munguia, who cut in from the right wing and beat Spartans goalkeeper Leeor Brounchtine from close range.