Columbia High overcame the loss of two players to red-card disqualification during its March 13 boys soccer season-opener to defeat SWW 1A League rival Stevenson 3-1 in a penalty-kick shootout, in Stevenson.
Given the man disadvantage they faced, Bruins Coach Peter Knowles said the Bruins "weren't disappointed to end up in a shootout" after playing the Bulldogs to a 2-2 draw through regulation and overtime.
"We lost here at the end of last year in a shootout, but we were confident heading into the final phase of the game," Knowles noted, adding, "When (goalkeeper) Carlos Mendoza stopped the first shot [of the shootout] and we scored on our first, we felt even stronger."
Miguel Lujano got Columbia going in the shootout, and Chuy Ramos and Ramon Cortez followed with scoring shots that put CHS ahead 3-1. Then, a third Stevenson miss to start the fifth round of penalty kicks decided the outcome.
Knowles said Mendoza's goalkeeping "was incredibly important" in the win.
"Not only did he stop the first shot in the shootout, he also stopped two very dangerous attacks in the second overtime, making two big saves," he said.
On another, where Mendoza "got just enough of the ball as he challenged a Stevenson attacker to stop the ball in its tracks was swept away by (defender) Louy Lerebourg," Knowles said.
"Any of those shots," he added, "could have been game-winners, but Carlos came up with the saves he needed."
The shootout finished what forward Trenton Morneault started with a goal in the fourth minute of play.
"We've played at Stevenson with early misses on goal enough to know how important an early lead is," Knowles said. "Trenton simply didn't give up on a long free kick from Chuy Ramos that everyone else thought the Stevenson goalkeeper would handle. Trenton got their first and headed it home."
But it didn't stay 1-0 for long as Stevenson answered with a goal by Cody Lloyd in the seventh minute that Knowles said "had all the hallmarks of an early-season game."
"Our defense seemed a little static, and no one seemed to take responsibility for the ball," he said. "The mess in front of the goal resulted in a short-range tapper that so often comes from those sorts of breakdowns."
Columbia shook it off, however, and regained the lead 13 minutes later on an unassisted goal by Cheno Barajas.
"Cheno's score followed a long dribbling exhibition that beat a number of Stevenson players. As he reched the 18-yard box, he struck it to the far side of the net for a nice goal," Knowles said.
The Bruins continued to control the match--despite playing a man down--until the 46-minute mark, when Jereth Robinson curled a shot past a diving Mendoza to tie the score a 2-all.
Knowles said "the momentum seemed to be shifting [but] maybe it was the wake-up call we needed, because we didn't give them that kind of opportunity again for the rest of regulation."
At Columbia High 4, Rochester 1:
The Bruins scored twice in the second half of last Friday's SWW 1A League match to put away a stubborn Warriors squad.
Columbia extended its 2-1 halftime lead to 3-1 when Miguel Ramirez scored on a lofted shot from 30 yards out that dropped just under the crossbar.
It eventually became 4-1 as Javier Ortiz scored from directly in front of the goal, off a long throw-in by Miguel Lujano.
In the first half, Lujano staked Columbia to a 1-0 lead "with a wicked long-range shot that found the far side of the net," Knowles said.
Rochester countered moments later, however, with an attack that resulted in a penalty kick.
But Columbia soon after reclaimed the lead for good on a corner kick by Chuy Ramos that deflected off a near post.
Other standouts for CHS included midfielder Shanti Gosman, who "showed composure, playmaking ability and skill at moving from a defensive posture into a threat on the attack," and Carlos Mendoza, who "again played strong in goal, turning away a number of dangerous shots and crosses as the game wore on," Knowles said.