A Game of Goalkeeping: Jesuit Upsets No. 2 Seed Catholic in PKs
The Jesuit soccer team played its second round playoff game at Catholic (BR) on Feb. 8, 2018. The two teams met twice in the regular season with Catholic winning the first meeting in November, 1-0. The second meeting in mid-January saw the teams play to a 0-0 tie.
In the third encounter, both teams were fully aware that the winner was moving on to the quarterfinal. The game began at a hectic pace with both teams eager to get off to a good start. Catholic had the better of the early exchanges, with Jesuit having to defend a series of corner kicks. Jesuit found their legs midway through the half and created a couple of chances, but the halftime scoreline would eventually read 0-0. The second half began with Jesuit on the front foot with the Catholic keeper forced into making two good saves. The Bears made a huge push with 15 minutes remaining to get the winner before the end of regulation, but the Jesuit defense remained resolute. With neither team finding a goal, the full-time whistle blew and extra time beckoned.
The referee informed both teams that two 10-minute overtime periods were ahead. A 0-0 scoreline at the end of regulation meant that, for this season, the Bears’ goal in November was the only goal between these teams after 240 minutes of playing each other.
Alas, neither team could find a winner. Sudden death was now a reality. Sudden death called for two 5-minute golden goal periods. In the blink of an eye, Catholic worked to the front of the Jesuit goal; however, some calm defending averted the threat. As quickly as sudden death began, the golden goal phase ended, 0-0. What followed next was a penalty kick (PK) shootout that was a treat for all in attendance.
First up was Catholic High. Their shooter went low to Jesuit’s keeper Shane Lanson’s right side. Lanson made a fingertip save on to the post. Senior Christian de Gracia, Jesuit’s co-captain struck the ball to the Catholic keeper’s left; but the Bears’ keeper saved it. The 0-0 scoreline would not budge. The second Catholic shooter went to Lanson’s right for the first goal of the long night. Ashton Perkins then duly dispatched the ball into the net to even the score, 1-1. Round three of PKs included a second Lanson save and a Jesuit miss. The fourth Bear kick, however, was successful.
Lanson himself stepped next to go head-to-head with the Catholic keeper. With the precision of a forward, Lanson buried the ball in the back of the Catholic net, 2-2. Immediately, he jumped back between the posts to face Catholic’s last kicker. True to form, Lanson made another incredible effort, but the ball found the back of the Jesuit net (3-2, Bears). Last up for the Jays was Braden Brignac, Jesuit’s co-captain. With the game on the line, Brignac equalized, 3-3.
Moving to sudden death PKs, each team would take one kick each until there was a winner. Sudden death rounds six and seven proved that it was a game of goalkeeping, as both Lanson and the opposing keeper saved both shots kicked their way.
Up next for Jesuit and the win was sophomore Gabe Gordon. With fingernails bitten to the quick, Jesuit players and fans took a deep breath. Gordon placed the ball 12 yards from the Catholic goal and backed away from the ball. After what seemed like an eternity, Gordon advanced to strike the ball, and the Catholic keeper flew to his left. Gordon, with ice water flowing through his veins, placed the ball to the right of the Catholic keeper for the game-winning goal!
Eight rounds of penalty kicks finally separated these powerhouse rivals, and when they did, it was the goalkeeper that carried Jesuit over No. 2 Catholic.