The seventh-seeded PLHS squad battled second-seed host Westview to a 1-1 tie in regulation play and the two sides were anticipating a penalty-kick shootout with less than a minute remaining in a 15-minute sudden death overtime period.
But that shootout never happened.
As Westview moved the ball into position near the Pointer goal, Wolverine senior forward Justin Kitts took advantage of a split-second opportunity and drilled a shot from the right side of Pointer goalie Evan Melone that found its way into the left side of the goal netting for a “golden goal” and the win.
Ironically, it was the only goal scored by Westview all night, after a rare “own goal” by the Pointers.
Wolverine players began a celebration while many of the devastated Pointers stood in stunned silence as the realization of what had just occurred struck them.
In a heartbeat, after 95 minutes of intense action, Pointer players saw their dreams vaporize, and many broke down, tears mixing with perspiration in the cold night air. Many had difficulty hiding their emotions as the two teams passed at midfield in the customary post-game handshake.
Earlier, the Pointers got off to a quick start.
It took only two minutes for them to take a 1-0 lead after a 5:30 p.m. start under the lights.
Leading Pointer scorer Devan Patane (nine goals, 14 assists) was taken down by a brutal tackle during the Pointers’ first foray into Wolverine territory. While fans called for a yellow card or whistle, senior Miguel Alcantar found the ball on his foot directly in front of Westview goalie Erik Huston and poked a shot into the net.
But moments later, as a Pointer defender attempted to head the ball back to keeper Melone, the pass sailed higher than anticipated over the keeper’s head and into the net for a rare “own goal.”
That 1-1 score remained for 91 minutes of intense play until the overtime game-winner.
Pointer head coach Elliott Savitz praised his players after the game.
“I’m really proud of our seniors,” he said. “They gave everything they had and left it all on the field tonight.”
Savitz concluded, “I don’t think (Westview) is a better side than us, but in soccer, sometimes there is a little bit of luck that makes the difference.”
• The Pointers ended their season with an overall record of 13-4-7 (2-2-4, third place, Western League).
• Patane was taken down several more times in the match and was noticeably in pain throughout. Many of these tackles drew no response from an officiating crew, resulting in sportsmanlike protests from Pointer coaches, stunned reactions from players and impassioned shouting from fans.
• A number of cautionary yellow cards were issued, but often for seemingly petty acts such as holding an opponent’s jersey. Often, when a violent play took place, play continued.
• Both goalkeepers made outstanding saves. Twice, Melone leaped high in the air laterally, using his fingertips to barely redirect Wolverine shots headed into the net’s upper corner.
• In the first-round CIF game on
Feb. 20, the Pointers dispatched 10th-seeded Steele Canyon by a 3-0 score. Goals were credited to Alcantar, Noah Bunton and Armando Contreras.
• Besides Patane, Alcantar, Melone, Bunton and Contreras, other seniors ending their prep careers were Avery Cramer, Pedro Basaca, Dylan Shackelford, Bobby Cardosa, Yonnie Zea, Oscar Ramirez and Steve Xum.