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Central Valley's Brock Benzel and Pasco's Jonathan Rojas, front, battle for the ball. (Dan Pelle)

Central Valley wins 4A regional soccer title

It’s called the Golden Goal, but to Central Valley it’s shines brighter than precious metal.

Brock Benzel headed in a long throw-in by Brian Choate a minute into the second of two five-minute overtime periods to lift CV to a 1-0 win over Mid-Columbia champion Pasco to claim the 4A regional title and the chance to host first- and second-round state tournament games beginning next week.

“I could feel it build as the game wore on,” Benzel said. “I just knew we were going to score.”

Game officials had already warned both coaches that they could only call on players who were on the field at the end of the second overtime if the game went to a shootout.

Choate chased the ball down into the right corner, where a Pasco defender knocked it out of bounds to set up a throw-in.

“Brian does a great job on throw-ins and we knew we had a chance to do something,” CV coach Andres Monrroy said.

“I saw the ball coming the whole way and no one was marking me,” Benzel said. “I had some space, went up and told myself I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity and thankfully it went in.”

The two district champions played 80 minutes of spirited, back-and-forth soccer that pressured both defenses.

“We expected what (Pasco) was going to do, but it wasn’t something we could prepare for,” Monrroy said. “You can’t prepare for a team that is that fast and quick.”

Senior defenders Benzel and Karl Ellingson spearheaded the Bears defense, settling their young teammates and directing traffic.

“I can’t say enough about how well our defense reacted and played,” Monrroy said. “Especially the seniors.”

“I hate to toot my own horn, but that’s my job back there and that’s what I concentrated on doing,” Ellingson said. “We have some young guys back there, but they’re not that young any more. We were able to adjust to (Pasco’s) speed and once we figured out how to mark them, we were good.”

Pasco now hosts a loser-out, winner-to-state game Saturday against Ferris.