Written by Corbett Smith
Battle of state boys soccer champs concludes in shootout as Wakeland downs Jesuit
DUNCANVILLE - For Frisco Wakeland goalkeeper Nick Petolick, the shoot-out is becoming old hat. Funny, because Petolick said he never practices them.
"I do the same thing every time," Petolick said. "I get up to the PK spot and cut off as much angle as I can and just react from there. I look for a bad touch, and when I see that, I just attack."
Petolick saved two shoot-out attempts and saw the final attempt go wide as Frisco Wakeland, defending Class 4A soccer champions, beat Jesuit, defending 5A champs, in a shoot-out, 2-1, in the semifinals of the Duncanville Kickoff Classic at Old Panther Field.
Wakeland will play Duncanville today at 3 p.m. for the championship.
It was the second big shoot-out win for Petolick and Wakeland (7-0) in the last eight games. The other win, granted, was much bigger; he made four straight saves in the shoot-out of last season's Class 4A state championship game against Humble Kingwood Park, giving Wakeland its first state title.
While this win wasn't as big, it was hardly insignificant. Frisco Wakeland coach Rusty Oglesby likened it to a big non-district football game. A very big game.
"This is our Euless Trinity vs. Southlake Carroll," Oglesby said.
Wakeland jumped out to an early lead, less than 20 minutes into the game. At 18:18 in the first half, freshman Tristan Honaker -- in his first varsity start -- was fouled in the box, giving Wakeland a penalty-kick attempt. Mitchell Francois, one of the Wakeland players who scored in the 4A final shoot-out, converted the penalty kick to give Wakeland a 1-0 lead.
From that point, neither team had many chances, a result of dominant midfield play.
"When you are playing the defending national champions, it's going to be a dogfight..." Oglesby said. "You are going against the tradition of Jesuit, and we're just five years old, man."
That changed late in the second half. Trailing by a goal, Jesuit (4-2) kept pressing the issue.
Jesuit striker Ini Bryce kept getting free right around the 18-yard box late in the match. He was fouled right outside the box left of goal with 24:30 remaining in the game. Wakeland cleared the free kick.
It happened again 10 minutes later on the right side of the 18-yard box, with similar results. Bryce also broke free of the Wakeland defense down the right side with 23 minutes left, shooting wide of the goal.
His persistence eventually paid off. With 3:04 remaining, a beautifully played 35-yard pass from midfielder Ryan Dendinger was chested down by Bryce in the box. Bryce was fouled, and Tanner Davis converted the penalty kick to tie the game, 1-1.
From that point, it was Petolick's time to shine. With the shoot-out tied 2-2, Petolick made the first of two stops, rushing out to bat down an attempt by Mitchell Pagel.
Jesuit keeper Michael Murad answered Petolick's stop on the next attempt, keeping the shoot-out tied at 2-2.
Petolick then made a fantastic diving save to his right, getting his fingertips on a kick by Josh Dillon. Wakeland's Geoff Hill converted the next dribble-up, giving Wakeland a chance to win on either a Jesuit miss or another Wakeland make.
Gabe Arango's kick to tie went right, ending Jesuit's chances.
"This shows how 4A has come so far," Petolick said. "5A's just a number."