The Pacer boys soccer team beats Glencoe 3-2 in the second round of the playoffs.
It isn’t always how you win that counts.
It’s just that, no matter how it happens, you do win.
The Lakeridge boys soccer team can attest to that like no one else after being pushed into overtime before beating Glencoe 5-3 in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Lakeridge High School.
“I was definitely a little nervous, but I was always confident that our team would get through it,” said Lakeridge junior forward Jacob Real, who notched two assists on Tuesday. “We’ve been through this before and we’ve overcome the challenges.”
“This one means a lot, it really does,” said Pacer senior forward Zach Levin, who scored three times in the victory, his third three-goal game of the season. “We came into this game and … we kept the energy high and we scored a late one.”
“Glencoe was really good,” added senior defender Christian Warvick. “They’ve improved a lot since the last time we played. We didn’t have some key players for that first game, but they were tough. They really held it down.”
With the win, the second-ranked Pacers won for the ninth straight time and improved to 14-1-1 overall after winning the Three Rivers League title. Next up, the Pacers will host No. 7 Westview (a 2-1 winner over No. 10 Grant on Tuesday) in the state quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 5, at a time to be determined.
“We were taking (Glencoe) a little too lightly, so next time, I think we just need to push harder, play harder and respect their team,” said junior midfielder Karson Kosik, who set up the game-winning goal with a long throw-in. “We just need to prepare a couple days before, make sure we are doing everything we need to in practice and prepare to play again.”
“I feel like our mentality at the start of the next game needs to be better,” Real added.
No. 15 Glencoe, meanwhile, saw its five-game unbeaten streak snapped and ended its season at 6-5-5 after finishing second in the Pacific Conference.
Lakeridge grabbed a 1-0 lead 15 minutes, 20 seconds into the game when Real sent a corner kick into the Glencoe penalty box from the right side and Levin headed it home at the left post.
While the Pacers dominated early, the Crimson Tide found its footing midway through the opening half, then tied the contest 1-1 late in the half. There, with 5:49 to go before the half, freshman forward Aiden Himes made a steal, then sent a through ball to senior midfielder and team captain Miguel Lopez and, when Lakeridge senior goalkeeper Chase Nelson came out to challenge, Lopez scored in the right corner of the Pacers’ goal.
The second half provided more of the same, with Lakeridge pushing ahead 2-1 when Lakeridge junior Rollo Van Driesch controlled a deflected pass near the top of the Tide penalty box, turned and scored past Glencoe sophomore keeper David Downey at the top right corner of the Tide goal with 38:11 left to play.
There was more excitement ahead, too, beginning with Warvick’s 40-yard shot from the middle of the field that glanced off the Glencoe crossbar, shot straight down, but somehow failed to cross the end line.
While the Pacers didn’t score there, they took the lead when Real took the ball down the left sideline, turned toward the Tide goal and hit a cross that Levin finished at the far post for a 3-2 lead with 10:11 left to play.
Undeterred, the Crimson Tide rallied in the remaining minutes, with junior defender/midfielder Danny Hernandez Davila awarded a penalty kick after Lopez was fouled. Nelson blocked Hernandez Davila’s PK attempt, but Hernandez Davila was given a second chance after Nelson was penalized for moving off his line too early.
Nelson deflected Hernandez Davila’s second try, too, but Hernandez Davila collected the deflection and followed up to score in the open net and tie the game 3-3 with three minutes left to play.
Overtime, however belonged to the Pacers. Lakeridge pushed ahead 4-3 in the first half of overtime when Kosik made a long throw-in from the left side of the field, Pacer junior Mauricio Loyo flicked the ball across the Glencoe goal and Levin knocked it home at the far post with 4:06 to go.
“I just saw Mauricio flick it on, the keeper made a good (attempt at a save) and Zach finished it off,” Kosik said. “I was happy about that.”
“We had a lot of chances, but we just needed to finish them,” Real said. “We just need to keep being ruthless. Anything can happen in playoffs.”
Lakeridge then got an insurance goal in the second half of overtime when junior forward Matthew Maldonado took the ball up the left sideline, cut toward the Glencoe goal and hit a shot that deflected off Downey and trickled slowly into the far corner of the Tide goal with 2:48 to go.
“Glencoe’s a great team … but we came on top,” Levin said.
“They play this really weird system that’s hard to defend … (and) I felt kind of outnumbered at times, but we just had the advantage in terms of our attackers and wingers up front,” Warvick added.
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