When it comes to penalty kicks, the Central Valley boys soccer team has been there, done that.
The Bears practice them – every day – which came in handy at the end of a must-win match at Ferris on Wednesday afternoon. CV won the shootout 4-3 and the match 1-0 to stay in contention for a top-two finish in the Greater Spokane League.
It fell to senior captain Alec Bumgarner to end the drama.
“When I was walking up I was just trying to calm my nerves, and then my keeper (Aidan Dowling) gave me a little nod,” Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner placed the ball in the upper-right corner and out of the reach of Ferris goalkeeper Beau Lockmer, who earlier kept the Saxons alive in the shootout with a great save off Cobi Guerrinha. But one Saxons penalty kick hit the right post and another missed altogether.
Last year, en route to the state semifinals, the Bears defeated Emerald Ridge of Puyallup on penalties.
“I always like our chances if it comes to penalty kicks,” said CV coach Andres Monrroy, whose team forged a tie for second place with Ferris. Both teams are 4-2 in the GSL and one game behind Mead, which defeated Lewis and Clark 2-0 on Wednesday.
All four teams appear on course to reach district, but only the top two have a chance to win it and enhance their chances to stay at home for regional and state.
“This really sets us up for state,” said co-captain Robert Kissinger Smith, who converted the Bears’ first penalty kick.
Brian Choate and Reid Eliason also converted PKs for the winners. The Saxons’ Cedar Kelly, Matt Beaulaurier and Clayton Paull also were successful.
The Saxons had the better of the match for the first 60 minutes, moving the ball down the left wing and finding the speedy Paull. But Paull picked up a yellow card after colliding with Dowling at the end of a breakaway and went to the bench.
CV’s attack finally came around in the last 30 minutes of regulation, but Lockmer stopped two point-blank shots in the waning moments.
“Finally our attack came alive,” Monrroy said. “For the first 60 minutes it was a battle.”
Early in overtime, Beaulaurier was just high on a header, probably the Saxons’ best chance since hitting the crossbar early in the match.
Both teams struggled to finish, including a long free kick by Logan Parr of Ferris late in regulation that bounced into a group of players 20 yards in front of the CV goal, then bounced over the bar.
Ferris outshot the Bears 12-9, forcing 10 saves by Dowling. Lockmer turned away seven Ferris shots.