FILER — With a state tournament play-in game berth at stake, the Wendell Trojans boys soccer team traveled to Filer Wednesday afternoon to take on the Wildcats, a team they’d lost both previous meetings to this season by the slimmest of margins.
Wednesday’s game would be just as close but with the Trojans on the winning side, surviving two overtimes to win in a shootout 5-3.
“We’re a young team this year, and the players have gone a long way from where we started to where we are right now,” said Wendell head coach Jonathan Goss. “It showed today. For a lot of our players, they’ve never experienced this kind of tournament play, so I’m really proud of how far they’ve come.”
The first half was all defense by both teams, as neither was able to find the back of the net. Goaltenders Shane Hammond from Filer and Felipe Paniagua from Wendell were stellar between the pipes, as the first half ended in a 0-0 tie.
Wendell was able to bust the stalemate in the second half on a goal by Harold Perez. Not to be outdone, Filer answered with a goal by Douglas Chatterton, set up on a nice centering pass by Eric Holt. Both teams went into lockdown mode after the pair of goals however, with regulation ending in a 1-1 tie.
“The guys played a very tough game defensively,” Goss said of his Trojans. “They kept us in the game, and we were able to hold on to the penalty-kick round.”
Wendell seemingly had the game won with a goal in the first overtime, but after a huddle by the officials, it was waved off on an offsides penalty. With the second overtime also ending scoreless, it was on to a shootout.
“We thought the game was over at the time,” Goss said. “But there was a late call by the center referee. I had to make sure my players were focused and move on, because they made the call and we had to stay in the game mentally and stay tough.”
For the Trojans in the penalty-kick round, Carlos Pineda, Bryant Alvarado, Luis Rodriguez and Melvin Paniagua scored on the first four attempts.
Filer countered with goals by Michael Ippolito, Eric Holt and Tyler Ward. Trojan goalie Felipe Paniagua came up big with a blocked shot on another Wildcat attempt, then hammered the final nail into the Wildcats’ season, scoring the fifth and final goal.
“This was amazing,” Paniagua said after the game. “I was so happy when I blocked that goal. I was nervous through the whole thing, but I just wanted to make the team proud.”
The Trojans now head to Lewiston on Saturday for the state play-in game, opponent to be determined.