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Goalkeeper Sosa comes up big in penalty kick session as San Luis wins first playoff game
Penalty kicks have become the norm for the Sidewinders, which is something goalkeeper Carolyn Sosa doesn't want to change.
It's hard to blame her after San Luis picked up its second straight win in penalty kicks, downing Glendale-Mountain Ridge 2-1 to advance to the second round of the 5A-I state soccer tournament.
The eighth-seeded Sidewinders will travel Saturday to play Xavier, the tournament's No. 1 seed, in Phoenix.
San Luis' Maria Duarte, Gisel Duarte and Lourdes Ibarra each converted on their penalty shots and Sosa defended two to give the Sidewinders the win.
"I'm more nervous during the game. I like PKs better because after every practice this is what we do," Sosa said. "If I can do it in practice and I've done it the game before this one, I don't see why I can't do it this time. I kind of like them now."
On Saturday the Sidewinders converted four penalty kicks to defeat Cibola, earning a home game in the state tournament and the Gila Valley Region title. Though he admitted that he likes his team's chances in the penalty kicks, San Luis coach Ian McDougall didn't share his keeper's sentiment about enjoying them.
"They're trying to kill me at a young age. I can only take so many of these penalty kick shootouts and so many of these games of overtime," McDougall said. " (This was) our fourth game since the Christmas break that has gone into overtime and the third one that has gone until PKs and we've won them all. Apparently PKs work for us."
Though the Mountain Lions were credited with a goal in the match, their team was kept off the scoresheet. San Luis' Lorena Cruz kicked in an own goal in the 19th minute to give Mountain Ridge the 1-0 advantage, which they would carry into halftime.
Cruz tried to kick the ball to Sosa to clear it out of the 18-yard box, but Sosa, who was giving instructions to Gisel Duarte, didn't see the ball which listed lazily into the net.
"Even though I know I messed it up a little bit, I thought I was doing my job," Cruz said. "There was no communication, it was a bad mistake. I thought I ruined the season, but I kept moving forward and working hard."
That work paid off in the second half, as San Luis put together 12 second-half shots on goal, five of which were defended by the Mountain Ridge goalie.
Though the shots fell short, the Sidewinders' offensive pressure kept the Mountain Lions off balance.
"The last 30 minutes we were on our heels," Mountain Ridge coach Andrew Lang said. "They stepped it up, they went fast, they were running hard throughout and they were connecting passes. It took everything we had to hold to that point because of the pressure they were giving us."
While San Luis' front line pushed forward, Gisel Duarte brought the ball inside the 18-yard box to attempt an equalizing shot. But Gisel Duarte was fouled before she could shoot, setting up the game-tying penalty kick.
With 1:31 remaining Gisel Duarte rattled a shot toward the left post, but the goalie deflected the shot out of bounds. As Mountain Ridge celebrated, San Luis set up for the corner kick and with one minute remaining in the game Marlin Armendariz headed a ball in from 7 yards out to tie the game.
"I saw the ball come in on the corner kick and I saw it in slow motion," Lang said. "Just watching the girl stick her head out and that was all."
Wednesday's win was the first postseason victory for the Sidewinders, who are making their first appearance in the state tournament. Sosa picked up four saves during the contest and was awarded her third straight shutout.
Matt Maxson can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6866.