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Raiders ousted from playoffs by Pumas in PKs
It wasn't just being the higher seed. It wasn't just losing a virtual home game. It wasn't just losing on penalty kicks after missing shot after shot in regulation and overtime.
Sure, Cibola senior goalkeeper Carlee Davis said all that hurt after the Raiders' 1-0 loss on penalty kicks to Gilbert-Perry in the 5A-II Girls Soccer State Playoffs at Kofa's Irv Pallack Field.
After the game, an emotional Davis said what stung more was that last year ended the same way.
“It feels bad especially since this is the same way we went out last year,” Davis said. “It hurts. We had potential and we thought this year was our year.”
She then paused and let go a small smile.
“But all good things come to an end.”
No. 12 Perry (7-6) advances to the quarterfinals on Saturday, while the No. 5 Raiders (10-3) lose in the first round again. Last year, they lost to 2-1 on penalty kicks to Desert Mountain as an eight seed at Cibola.
The Raiders dominated throughout, bombarding Perry goalkeeper Samantha DeMarco with shot after shot. Raider midfielder Naiby Rodriguez took three free kicks from just outside the box, each one deflecting off the crossbar.
“The ball just didn't want to go in,” first-year coach Carlos Gonzalez said. “But the ladies played a great game. They did what they had to do. We did our crosses great, we were right there. The ball just, it was one of those days, where it wouldn't go in.”
As much as Cibola dominated the first half in the shot department, the Raiders did even better in the second half when the wind picked up and kept the Pumas from clearing the ball out of their half.
“We weren't finishing,” Davis said. “It's something we struggled with all season. We had the heart. But we couldn't put it in the back of the net.”
After an overtime that played out very similar to regulation — lots of Raider shots, no Raider goals — the teams made their first four total penalty kicks. Yvone Flores and Chelsea Madsen connected for the Raiders while Aubrey Hodge and Shelby Stephenson scored for the Pumas, who shot last.
Rodriguez and Perry's Seanna Saladrigas each missed off the crossbar. Cibola's Lauren Schryver missed to start the fourth round and Jensen Gorton made her shot for Perry, then Michelle Soto's shot was saved along the ground by DeMarco.
“We had a lot of opportunities we missed,” Gonzalez said. “PKs are 50 and 50, and it wasn't our day today.”
The Pumas made three of their four shots despite a raucous Raider crowd trying its best to distract the Perry shooters.
“It was a pretty hostile environment. It was nice to see a girls' game getting that many kids out,” Puma coach Cory Christensen said. “It was fun.”