Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Poteet boys soccer surges, only to lack finishing kick as Waco University wins penalty shootout
GEORGETOWN — Mesquite Poteet was three minutes away in regulation, and after overtime, it was two penalty kicks away. But at Birkelbach Field, the Pirates’ hopes for a Class 4A state championship eventually got away.
In the sixth round of penalty kicks, Waco University’s Adrian Barragan slid a shot past diving goalkeeper Trevor Gilbert to give University the clinching goal. University’s 3-2 victory (4-3 in penalty kicks) put it in Saturday’s 1 p.m. title game against El Paso Del Valle, which beat Pharr Valley View, 1-0, in the other semifinal.
The teams each scored three times in the five rounds of penalty kicks, forcing a sixth round. Poteet’s Alexi Upton had his shot saved by Barragan, who then switched from goalkeeper to scorer. His shot to the lower left got past the outstretched hands of Gilbert.
“Sometimes it’s just not meant to be,” Poteet coach Colby Peek said. “The kids fought hard. They left it out there. That’s all you can ask.”
University (32-0), making its first state appearance, peppered the goal with shots in the first half, and Gilbert made several nice saves to keep the match scoreless. But in the 27th minute, University forward Eli Sanchez launched a shot from 22 yards out that sailed into the upper left corner of the net.
That 1-0 lead remained until halftime, and Poteet (23-2-3) could’ve felt relieved as it left the field for intermission. University had controlled the midfield to give it numerous chances while Poteet managed only a few.
“We could’ve packed it in. We could’ve quit,” Peek said. “But that’s not in this team’s character. I’m so proud of these guys.”
Poteet’s play picked up in the final five minutes of the half, and the momentum seemed to carry into the second half. Senior forward Charles Ojeda nearly scored on a 30-yard free kick in the 42nd minute, and a minute later Poteet evened things up.
The goal came when freshman midfielder Jesus Armendariz sent a pass wide to senior forward Carlos Cardenas. He crossed the ball to Ojeda, who was just left of the goal 10 yards out. Ojeda headed it in to tie the game.
In the 67th minute, Derric Davis passed ahead to Cardenas, who volleyed the ball to himself and then chipped it over goalkeeper Adrian Barragan. Poteet became the first team this season to score two goals against University, but more important, it grabbed the lead for the first time.
The final minutes couldn’t tick away fast enough for Poteet, however. With 2:23 left, University midfielder Francisco Ponce put a shot in from 10 yards in front of the net, set up by Jorge Barco’s 45-yard pass on a free kick.
Both teams had several good opportunities during two frenetic 10-minute overtime periods, but neither team could score to avoid a penalty kick duel.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.