After winning their first City League soccer championship in school history, the Bishop Carroll boys encountered a familiar opponent in postseason play Thursday night.
The Eagles, seeded second, hosted No. 7-seed Newton, which they beat 1-0 in the Goddard-Campus tournament this fall. On Thursday, however, a trip to Class 5A quarterfinals was at stake. And neither team wanted to surrender its chance at a regional title.
“This is kind of a revenge game,” said Newton coach Scott Jantzi.
The physical game included five yellow cards – three for Carroll and two for Newton. It also featured several impressive saves from each goalkeeper, junior Luis Fernandez of Carroll and senior Nat Dick of Newton.
In fact, Carroll coach Mike Skaggs described Dick as an “outstanding goalie.”
“Newton’s a very good team,” he said. “They’re a very competitive team.
“At times they outhustled us a little bit,” Skaggs added. “They won a lot of the 50-50 balls.”
Jantzi said the Railers’ keys to the game were defending well, connecting on their passes and creating opportunities. He also noted that his players pressured the home team.
“That just got them out of their rhythm,” he remarked.
Carroll played without its leading scorer, senior Cesar Ramirez, who broke his leg during the Sept. 27 game against Wichita South. In addition, players from both teams suffered from cramps on Thursday as the overtimes piled up.
Skaggs said he did not substitute as much as usual.
“The game was just so close we didn’t want to put somebody in from the bench,” he explained.
Fatigue may have been a factor late in the contest. Both squads were active on the field.
“There for about 10 or 15 minutes,” said Skaggs, “it was like a basketball game, just coast to coast.”
The teams battled cold, windy weather – and each other. The score remained knotted after four overtimes.
Carroll and Newton each capitalized on the first penalty kick. Dick managed a save on Carroll sophomore Taylor White’s attempt, and Newton senior David Jantz’s successful shot gave the Railers a 2-1 lead.
On Carroll’s third try, senior Kole Lopez sent the ball sailing too high. Senior Mark Kreider responded by putting Newton ahead 3-1.
Carroll and Newton each succeeded in their fourth attempt, so Newton won the showdown 4-2. Jantzi said his team was confident it would win the game as it prepared for penalty kicks Thursday.
“We’re one dangerous team at No. 7,” he said, referring to the seeding.
The victory was especially satisfying for Newton because it avenged this year’s tournament loss to Carroll as well as a 2010 regional-final loss to the same school. Newton (11-6-1) will compete Tuesday, Oct. 30, in 5A state quarterfinals.
“I’m just proud of my guys,” said Jantzi. “They fought all year long.”
Skaggs also felt proud of his players after Thursday’s marathon competition. The Carroll seniors have increased their wins during each year of high school. The Eagles won five games in 2009, seven in 2010 and then 10 last season.
Carroll finished this year 14-2-2.
“We like to think we’re building a pretty strong program here,” said Skaggs.
Like Carroll, Newton has shown improvement. The Railers, who suffered a first-round loss in 2011 regionals, will be a No. 3 seed at state quarterfinals next week. They will take on No. 2-seed Kapaun Mount Carmel (13-5) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Stryker Complex.