After Gonzaga Prep’s Tyler Jordan scored the game-winning goal in the Bullpups’ 1-0 win over Decatur Friday night, the first words out of his mouth were: “Get off, get off, get off!”
It was due to the fact that Jordan was buried beneath a mass of humanity that included his teammates, coaches and members of the G-Prep student body in the right corner of the Central Valley soccer field.
Gonzaga Prep’s dramatic double-overtime win put it in the championship game of the WIAA/ State AAA soccer championship game against Cascade. The Bruins earned a 1-0 overtime win against Evergreen earlier in the day.
Today’s championship will be played at CV at 3 p.m. Evergreen and Decatur will play for thirdplace at CV at noon.
For the the Bullpups, with just 30-seconds remaining in the second overtime, Jordan took a pass from Ben Lambert and sent the ball through the legs of Cascade goalie Chad Nelson.
Before that though, it seemed as if the number of missed G-Prep scoring opportunities were as numerous as the amount of fans that mobbed Jordan.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” G-Prep coach Christian Birrer said. “The whole time I just kept thinking: ‘Oh no, not another Mountain View.’ “
Last year, the Bullpups dominated Mountain View from start to finish before the eventual state champions went on to beat Gonzaga Prep in the semifinal game of the state playoffs.
In the first half last night, the Bullpups Joe Ascolese sailed two shots wide to the right of the goal post. Teammate Chad Zlateff, who is suffering from a pulled hamstring, followed Ascolese’s misses by hitting the goal post twice within a period of three minutes.
“It’s the state playoffs - anything can happen,” Ascolese said. “Most of the time we put those balls in the goal.”
Later on, in the first overtime, Ascolese outmaneuvered a defender and had a one-on-one with the goalie and sent a shot wide right of the goal. Before Jordan’s goal, it was the best scoring opportunity for either team all night.
But fortunately for the Bullpups, Jordan connected on his scoring chance. It was his second game-winning goal in the week. He had a header in G-Prep’s 1-0 win over Kamiakin in the regional playoffs last week.
“Ben set me up with a perfect pass and I just punched it in,” Jordan said. “That pass was right on target.”
Lambert won the purple heart award after part of his face turned slightly purple after a collision with a Decatur player just before the end of the first half.
For the Golden Gators, it was a valiant effort for a team that didn’t have the services of leading scorer J.P. Capodanno and starting goalie Tom Cottle.
Capodanno was suspended for the year last week for picking up his second red card of the season while Cottle suffered a season-ending thumb injury last week as well.
Capadanno’s absence on offense was felt because Cascade mustered just six shots on goal.
“We certainly didn’t play as well as we could have,” Decatur coach Dan Flint said. “But we’ve got to give Gonzaga Prep a lot of credit, they sure had a lot of scoring opportunities.”
Nineteen scoring opportunities to be exact.
Nelson, normally a midfielder, turned in a solid performance in goal for the Golden Gators. However, G-Prep’s relentless offensive attack was just too much to overcome.
Of Jordan’s goal, Nelson said: “It was so bunched up in the middle that I didn’t see the ball coming at me until it was too late. I tried to drop and get it but it went right through my legs.”