Kapaun Mount Carmel and Newton came into Tuesday’s Class 5A soccer quarterfinal pretty evenly matched.
So perhaps it wasn’t a surprise that after 110 minutes the Crusaders and Railers were locked in a 1-1 tie.
Kapaun pulled out the victory, winning on penalty kicks 4-3 and securing a berth in the 5A semifinals Friday against Mill Valley.
“It’s huge,” said coach Anthony Cantele, who took over as Kapaun’s boys and girls soccer coach after the death of longtime coach Alan Shepherd last August. “There were a lot of things that we had on our minds going through the season. This was the next step. This was one thing we missed out on last year. We’re excited for the chance to play two more games.”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Crusaders have used the loss of Shepherd as a rallying point, with T-shirts that have angel wings and “AS” on the left sleeve, and now find themselves heading back to state under Cantele. Kapaun was third in Class 5A in 2014.
“This whole season is about him, boys and girls,” Cantele said. “So that’s the thing that the girls keep in the backs of their minds, too. When we get into these tough games where we have to dig deep, just his memory, what he did for these girls and especially what he did for the program.
“It’s something we’re definitely doing for him, and we’re going to continue that.”
Kapaun (15-4) jumped to the 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the game when freshman Emily Michaelis slipped the ball past Newton goalkeeper Megan Akers.
But the Railers tied the match when Crusaders goalkeeper Megan Michaelis made a save on a Brookelyn Entz shot, but the ball was loose in front of her, and Newton senior Erika Ledesma knocked in the equalizer.
The Railers thought they had the game won with 4:37 left in the third overtime when an Entz shot hit the crossbar and bounced down, but officials ruled the ball never crossed the goal line.
“That was a great opportunity, a great shot by Brookelyn, she’s an unreal player,” Cantele said. “She’s the best player in the state. She gave us a lot of problems with what we were trying to do to make sure she didn’t get the ball. She would still get the ball, and then she would do some crazy things with it.”
Newton coach Scott Jantzi said he thought Entz had scored.
“Our coaching staff thought they saw daylight between the ball and the goal line,” he said. “But the officials didn’t see that.”
During the penalty-kick phase, Kapaun sophomores Evelyn Nguyen, Sierra Fury, Nacy Vargas converted, and after Izzy Saenz scored for Newton, which shot first, Kapaun sophomore Rachel Hastings ended the game, pushing the ball to the right corner past Akers.
“This is just the best feeling,” Hastings said. “We had a lot to play for this season, for coach Shepherd, so a trip to state is definitely a good feeling. It was the longest game I’ve ever played in.”
She said she was confident on her final penalty kick.
“It was a lot of pressure, but I knew I had it,” she said. “We’ve been practicing them all week. I just wanted to do it for the team.”
Kapaun – Michaelis (Hastings). Newton – Ledesma. Penalty kicks – Kapaun 4 (Nguyen, Fury, Vargas, Hastings); Newton 3 (Torres, Entz, Saenz). Shots – Kapaun 6-4-1-0–11, Newton 3-2-1-3–9. Saves – Kapaun, Michaelis 3-1-1-3–8, Newton, Akers 5-4-1-0–10.