After 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime ended in a scoreless tie, River Valley defeated the Tigers 5-4 on penalty kicks Thursday, Nov. 1, at Patterson Community Stadium.
Patterson coach Greg Hartsell was disappointed that his team’s postseason came down to penalty kicks.
“We knew River Valley was a good team. You don’t win your league having a mediocre team,” Hartsell said. “I give them credit. They came out and gave us a good game. But I wish there was a better way to decide the game, other then penalty kicks. That outcome doesn’t always show what happens on the field.”
The threat of rain loomed overhead throughout the game, and neither team made good on its chances in the first half.
The Tigers asserted themselves after the intermission but could not manage to score.
“We had our opportunities, but we just couldn’t make them,” Hartsell said. “Things just didn’t fall our way today.”
Four minutes into the second half, Patterson sophomore Marcos Melendez took a short pass from Rogelio Mendosa, a senior, and broke into River Valley’s goal box. Melendez made a chip shot toward the goal, but the ball sailed high and over the crossbar.
In the 47th minute, Tiger sophomore Andres Herrera dribbled between two defenders and forced River Valley goalkeeper Triston Montoya to move away from his net to contest the shot.
Herrera’s right-footed blast ricocheted off Montoya’s gloves and Herrera returned the shot quickly, but the ball was cleared just before it crossed the goal line.
Seven minutes later, Patterson senior Kiki Gonzalez took a free kick from about 25 yards away that landed inside the goal box and right at the feet of Mendosa. Mendosa was unable to make a clean shot, however, and the attempt was saved.
When neither team scored a goal in either of the two 10-minute overtime periods, the match moved to penalty kicks.
“You just don’t want your season to end,” said Patterson senior Adrian Ramirez, who took the first kick for Patterson. “You focus on every detail. You focus on every shot. You go all out, because if you lose, there is no game the next day.”
After watching Ramirez sink the first kick with a shot into the left corner, Alejandro Diaz smacked River Valley’s first attempt off the top of the crossbar. The ball bounced straight down and slipped across the goal line.
Melendez successfully sent the ball into the right side of the net, and River Valley’s Anthony Carbajal scored on a shot that traveled high and to the right.
After Mendosa’s attempt was stopped in the third round of penalty kicks, River Valley’s Brandon Blancas set up for his kick and deposited the ball into the right corner of the goal.
Gonzalez went right and he nailed it. River Valley’s Gilberto Lopez then shot the ball into the upper left corner of the goal.
Patterson’s Osvaldo Barbosa ripped a shot past Montoya in the fifth round of penalty kicks. But Hector Ramos of River Valley also scored with a shot to the right, giving the visitors a victory.
“It’s too bad that this game went to penalty kicks,” Gonzalez said. “But I’ll take the memories of this season with me. The bond we had on this team — we were like brothers.”
The Tigers had much to be proud of since starting practice in the sweat-soaked days of mid-August.
Drawing on considerable youth and depth, Patterson celebrated its first league title since 2009 with a 10-1-1 WAC campaign that included a five-game winning streak going into last week’s game.
The team will lose only seven players next season, and all but three of the 11 starters are expected to return.
”Nobody expected us to win WAC. Nobody expected us to do what we did this season,” Hartsell said. “We have so many of these players returning next year. We’ll find our way back (to the playoffs) next season. Our confidence will be high.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.