After 110 minutes of play, including four overtime periods, the Class 5A regional championship between the Great Bend High School boys’ soccer team and Hays was still undecided.
The game went to a shootout tied at 2-2.
After 24 penalty kicks, it was junior Alexander Urias who drove in the final goal to advance the Panthers into the state quarterfinals with an 11-10 win.
“There were so many (penalty kicks),” GBHS head coach Gus Prieto said. “We were so nervous. It was exciting. I knew that Urias could do it. He is an excellent shooter.”
Hays put a pair of goals into the net in the first half of the game, but Urias narrowed the gap shortly after the Indians’ second goal.
The junior forward took a hard shot from the left side of the goal that ricocheted off of a Hays defender and into the net.
Noel Rodriguez knotted the game with a long, high shot that glanced off of the top bar of the goal and past Indians goalkeeper Hunter Wilkens.
Ramon Garcia played well in the net for the Panthers, making seven saves and a number of plays to keep the Tribe from scoring.
Though each team has a number of chances to score and win the game in the golden-goal overtime periods, neither team could finish the play, driving it into a shootout.
Great Bend substituted Ivan Galindo for Garcia to protect the net during the shootout.
“Ivan has played for me for seven years,” Prieto said. “He played five years as a goalie. He is an excellent keeper. He is really good as PKs, so I will alsways put him in in shootouts.”
Galindo fell behind a couple of goals early, as Wilkens blocked a couple of Panthers penalty kicks, but the Great Bend sophomore made a pair of diving stops of his own to even the score.
After a second set of five shooters, the score was still tied.
The third set began with Hays sophomore Lane Clark, who beat Galindo to the right side.
Mario Espino responded in kind, beating Wilkens to the low corner.
Then, Galindo made his fourth block of the shootout, leaving it up to Urias, who plowed his shot into the net.
The Panthers advance into the state quarterfinals on Tuesday night. The opponent and location has yet to be determined.