By EARL WATT • Daily Leader
Liberal coach Lori Navarro calmly went to the scorer’s table and listed off the names of five Redskins players. Liberal’s season would rest on those five players and goalkeeper Sammy Duque.
After 80 minutes of scoreless soccer in regulation, and another 20 minutes without a score in four overtimes, the game came down to five penalty kicks for Liberal, five for Newton in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs with a region championship on the line. The Redskins scored four of the shots while Newton only scored three, and the Redskins survived the upset bid. “We practice the penalty kicks,” Liberal coach Lori Navarro said. “We knew we would have to utilize them sometime in the playoffs. The players have to volunteer themselves, they have to have confidence. Everyone practices, but you have to have the confidence.” Newton scored the first goal in the penalty kicks, and Hernan Fraire responded with a goal to tie the kicks 1-1. When newton missed their second kick, the door was open for the Redskins, but Jose Chavira had his shot blocked, and the score remained 1-1. Newton scored on its third attempts, and Carlos Ruiz connected for the Redskins to make the score 2-2 after three kicks. On the fourth kick, Newton’s kicker shot a bullet to Duque’s left side, but the Redskin goalie got both hands on the ball and deflected it away from the net. While the dejected Railer headed back to the midfield line, Eduardo Campos stepped up for his shot, and he nailed it to the bottom corner of the net to give the Redskins a 3-2 lead with one kick remaining. Newton managed to get the ball past Duque to tie the score, and Cesar Jurado lined up for his shot. The Newton goalie guessed wrong, and Jurado scored the deciding goal which advanced the Redskins to the Elite 8 which will be played at the Redskin Soccer Complex at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Winfield. Newton forced the game to overtime by giving up on offense and playing defense the entire game, moving their players deep in their own territory and trying to force the penalty kick situation. “It was good strategy,” Navarro said. “They gave us no offensive pressure. It’s almost impossible to set up a shot when the whole team is playing defense.” Newton received a red card in the first half and played shorthanded which forced them in to the 100-minute stall. In the second overtime, Newton goalie Casey Budd was ejected after he emphatically disputed an encroachment call which set up a second attempt at a penalty kick for the Redskins. Newton blocked the attempts, and the Railer strategy of playing nothing but defense forced the penalty kick showdown. Duque’s two blocks turned out to be the difference. “Sammy played a phenomenal game,” Navarro said. “When he was in the net, I said, ‘Don’t second guess yourself. Go with your first instinct and get it done.’”