TOWANDA — Missed opportunities plagued the Rose Hill soccer team Friday night.
The Rockets missed seven shots in regulation and overtime before falling 4-2 on penalty kicks to Lenexa St. James in the semifinals of the Class 4-1A tournament.
St. James (11-9) will face Berean Academy today at 2 p.m. for the state championship. Rose Hill plays DeSoto for third place at noon.
After four overtime periods couldn't break a 1-1 tie, the game went to a shootout. Rose Hill held an early advantage as Zachary Raevsky stopped St. James' first attempt and teammate Dom Swindler scored on his attempt. That lead wouldn't hold up however, as the next four Thunder players scored while Rose Hill was unable to connect on two of its three attempts after Swindler.
"Shootouts are like a coin toss," Rose Hill coach Jerry Treat said. "Both teams had chances. We didn't make the most out of ours."
After Swindler scored on the first penalty kick, Jace Dinkel's shot missed off the post. Ramsey Khalidi made his attempt, but Ben Abraham's shot was stopped by St. James keeper Carlo Brunellie. Thunder junior Steve Loya scored the game-winning kick.
The win was vindication for Brunellie. Last year, Brunellie gave up the game-winning goal as Rose Hill defeated St. James.
"No words can describe how happy I feel," Brunellie said. "I was nervous, but I had to make a save. The two previous players went left and the guy before him went right, so I guessed right and the ball was there."
The Rockets outshot St. James 8-4 during in the game, with five shots in the second half. Rose Hill looked to have found its offensive rhythm when Swindler, a defender, was moved to forward to add a spark. The strategy worked as his aggressive play resulted in the first goal of the game with 26:24 remaining in regulation.
Rose Hill controlled the game at that point, dominating possession until Jacob Sissel was called for a foul in the penalty box. Alex Bartlett converted the penalty kick with 14:09 remaining, tying the score 1-1.
"Rose Hill did a great job of taking us out of what we like to do offensively," St. James coach Rick Enna said. "Both defenses withstood. Too bad penalty kicks had to decide it in the end."
Lenexa St. James0 1 0 0 0 0—1 Rose Hill0 1 0 0 0 0—1
St. James wins in a shootout
Second Half—Rose Hill, Swindler (Khalidi); St. James, Barlett (unassisted). Shootout— St. James, Williams, Kohlrus, Zitnik, Loyal. Rose Hill, Swindler, Khalidi. Shots— St. James, 1-2-1-0-0-0—4; Rose Hill 2-5-0-1-0-0—8. Saves— St. James, Brunellie 1-1-0-0-0-0—2; Rose Hill, Raevsky 0-2-0-0-0-0—2.
Berean Academy 2, DeSoto 0 — Berean Academy got goals from Caleb Veer and Blaine Busenitz to advance to the Class 4A final.
DeSoto controlled possession for most of the game. However, Berean was able to find the net once it got the ball inside. With 16:47 remaining in the first half, Veer took a Broxton Busenitz pass and beat DeSoto keeper Tyler Buffkin for a 1-0 lead. Blaine Busenitz scored an insurance goal with 32:10 remaining.
This is the first time since 2004 that a Class 2A team has advanced to the state final.
Berean Academy 1 1—2 DeSoto 0 0—0
First half—Berean Academy, Veer (Br. Busenitz). Second Half— Berean Academy, Bl. Busenitz. Shots— Berean Academy 3-1—4; DeSoto 1-6—7. Saves— Berean, K. Wiebe 1-4—5; DeSoto, Buffkin 1-0—1.