The weight of missed opportunities finally became too much for Greater Spokane League co-champion Mead to bear Tuesday evening as the Panthers fell to Pasco 1-0 in the opening round of the State 4A boys soccer tournament at Joe Albi Stadium.
Junior midfielder Ezequiel Angeles scored the game’s only goal in the 74th minute and Pasco (15-4) turned back several frantic scoring attempts by Mead (14-3) in the final two minutes to advance to the state quarterfinals, where they will face Ferris, which beat Davis 3-2 in a shootout earlier on Tuesday in Yakima.
“Whew,” Pasco coach Matt Potter said after watching his team hold off the Panthers. “Mead is a great team, and they had us on our heels for a good portion of that match. But we hung together, weathered a few storms and were fortunate enough to get a goal down the stretch.”
Mead dictated play throughout most of the contest and generated several decent scoring chances, only to be denied by the Bulldogs.
“We had the run of the play,” said Panthers coach Matt Stueckle, “but we really didn’t have that many clear-cut scoring opportunities. In the first half, we probably had three or four, and in the second half one or two, but everything else was pretty much long distance.
“For whatever reason, that final ball, or little bit of sharpness we needed on our shots, just wasn’t there today. And I think you have to give a lot of credit to Pasco, too. They defended us really well.”
Angeles’ goal came on an attack down the right side, which saw the ball centered to teammate Richard Renteria near the left goal post. The pass drew Mead goalkeeper Curtis Hill and both defenders to the ball and Renteria bumped a pass back to Angeles, who was standing unchecked in front of the goal.
“It looked like it hit the crossbar, and that their keeper might have a chance to swat it out of there,” Potter said. “But it managed to trickle in – and certainly not fast enough for my liking.”
Stueckle said his team, which outshot Pasco 10-6, was crushed by the loss.
“But every team, other than the state champion, ends their season with a loss,” he said. “We had a great season, winning the GSL and district titles, but when you lose that last game that other stuff doesn’t seem all that comforting at the time.”
Ferris 3, Davis 2 (OT): Alec Cutter scored both of Ferris’ goals on penalty kicks, including one that tied the game in the final minute of regulation, and the Saxons (12-6-1) went on to upset Davis in a shootout in Yakima.
Cutter got his first goal just five minutes into the second half and was awarded another penalty kick late in the game when a Davis defender slid and hit the ball with his hand.
Matt LaPlante, Manny Cortes and Matt Bray all scored for Ferris in the shootout, while Saxons goalkeeper Nick Stebbins came up with two crucial saves.
Davis outshot Ferris 12-8.
State 2A tournament
Pullman 1, Selah 0: The Greyhounds (14-5) managed just three shots, but made one of them count as Kevin Spangenberg kicked home the winning goal on an assist from Nick Stevens in the 51st minute. Keeper Chris Hamlin recorded five saves as the Vikings were held scoreless, despite outshooting Pullman 8-3. The Greyhounds host Toppenish on Saturday.
Cheney 1, Quincy 0: C.J. Skillingstad’s goal in the 68th minute on an assist from Austin Walker was the difference as the Blackhawks (16-3) edged the Jackrabbits in Quincy. Andrew Wilson had 12 saves in the shutout for the Blackhawks, who play the winner of Aberdeen and Interlake on Saturday.
Toppenish 4, Deer Park 3: Luis Alcala scored three goals, including the eventual winner in the 77th minute, as the Wildcats held off the Stags (11-8) in Toppenish.