SANTA ANA PUEBLO — There was drama and then some Friday on the high school state soccer championship pitch.
Not to mention dead legs and fatigue and more than a little angst.
Such is the situation when the finale is scoreless after regulation. And the first, second, third and fourth overtime periods.
And that meant the boys 1A-3A championship would be decided on a penalty kick shootout.
“It was so scary,” St. Michael’s goalkeeper Daniel Dominguez said. “I just didn’t want to miss the ball.”
Dominguez ended up making one save, and one New Mexico Military Institute shooter sent his kick well over the net, which was enough to give the Horsemen the school’s first blue championship trophy.
“Oh my gosh, man, it’s the most amazing thing ever,” Dominguez said. “I didn’t think we’d get this far, to be honest. I didn’t think we’d get this far at all. And now, winning…I just want to go home and take a nap. The last 20 minutes I had no energy at all.”
Both squads had their opportunities, with the second-seeded Colts (19-2-1) nearly ending it right at the end of regulation when Alejandro Barcenas knocked a header off a corner kick, but it skidded off the crossbar and out.
No. 8 St. Mike’s (13-9-2) actually tucked one in early, but it was called back for an offside call.
“Dead-even soccer,” Horsemen coach Mike Feldewert said of the defensive struggle. “New Mexico Military Institute is a great squad and they have a fabulous defense. That’s probably the best defensive group I’ve seen this season. And credit to them. Great match, great team, it could have gone either way. When it comes to shootouts like that, it’s just a crapshoot.”
The loss leaves the Colts still looking for their first state championship.
“It’s real frustrating,” said NMMI coach John Barbour. “We had all the opportunities on goal and just couldn’t put it away when we needed to. They outlasted us, basically. They held on and defended and defended. But at the end of the day, if you don’t put it away, you’re not going to win games and that’s what it came down to.”
The teams were each successful on the first two attempts, and the Horsemen made their third, but the Colts’ next shot hit a patch sand and slowed down enough to allow Dominguez to get there.
Allen Varela snuffed St. Mike’s next attempt, but NMMI’s next shot went over the net, leaving Horsemen leading scorer Esteban Rigales on the line for the game winner. He easily buried his shot then was buried under a stampede of Horsemen.
“It was a very even match and fitting for a state championship game,” Feldewert said. “I hate to see it come down to PKs like that but it can’t go forever. At some point, you’ve got to figure out another way to win this because they were gassed. Both teams were gassed.”
No. 8 ST. MICHAEL’S 1, No. 2 NEW MEXICO MILITARY INSTITUTE 0 (PKs)
St. Michael’s 0 0 0 0 0 0 (4)—1
NMMI 0 0 0 0 0 0 (2)—0
Scoring: SM, 120+, Esteban Rigales. SOG: SM 4; NMMI 6. CK: SM 5; NMMI 4. SVs: SM, Daniel Dominguez 6; NMMI 4. Rec.: SM 13-9-2; NMMI 19-2-1.