When Central Valley senior Chris Stokesbary played club soccer as a 14-year-old, he was a spectator when it came time to work on corner kicks.
He was in the middle of the action Saturday. When the lanky defender got his head on the ball a minute into overtime for his second goal, he gave the Bears a 3-2 win over Davis and CV’s first trip to the State 4A semifinals in school history.
“We executed perfectly, exactly how we practiced,” Stokesbary said after converting Justin Alcala’s corner volley. “That’s our bread-and-butter right there.
“It’s kind of an inside joke. When I was 14, Alex Renz and I were on a club team and we were too short for corner kicks. We sat out an entire practice while the rest of the team practiced corner kicks. Now this season I’ve scored seven goals off them.”
It didn’t appear the Bears (13-3) would be part of Friday’s 5 p.m. game against Skyview (Vancouver) at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, falling behind the Pirates (13-5-1) quickly and trailing 2-0 at halftime.
Homar Renteria scored just 5 minutes in when he floated a ball from about 20 yards out over Alex Yoseph.
Then at 24 minutes, Cesar Rodriguez rolled one under Yoseph. Another goal was erased by an offside call.
“There was a lot of kick and run. They’re really fast, they were hard to keep up with for sure,” Stokesbary said. “We have heart. We don’t give up, especially when the other team gets up. We know we can overcome that if we play together as a team. We just needed to calm down and play our game.”
Yoseph came up with several key stops among his six saves and the tide turned in the second half.
“Halftime we talked about adapting,” CV coach Andres Monrroy said. “We knew they were faster than us, obviously, so we became a different team in the second half. They were not expecting that. We said we were going to take care of dead balls and that’s how we scored our goals, corner kicks and throw-ins.”
At 60 minutes the Bears lost a Stokesbary goal off a corner kick because of a foul.
But with just 18 minutes left, Alcala put a corner kick in deep, over Stokesbary’s head right to junior George Herner, who nodded it in.
Stokesbary scored the tying goal at 65 minutes, off an assist from Herner.
“They just went to the ball in the second half, attacked the ball and they were winning the ball against us,” Davis coach Armando Garcia said.
“We knew they were going to come at us. They did and we just didn’t respond to their aggressiveness, winning the 50-50 balls.”