Boys soccer: Cards top Tigers in OT
WILLMAR -- Just as the sun set, Junior Becerra pulled the curtain on the Marshall soccer season.
The game's only goal came 18 minutes into the 20-minute overtime, eliminating the Tigers from the Section 2A playoffs, 1-0 on Tuesday at the Kennedy field in Willmar.
Becerra's swift kick from an extreme angle on the right wing went across the goal mouth and inside the opposite post. A similar boot had hit the near post and bounced wide 30 seconds into the overtime.
The win propels the No. 8 seed Willmar (9-8) into the quarterfinal round where they'll meet No. 2 seed Mankato West on Saturday at the Dakota Meadows field in North Mankato.
The game time has not been announced.
It's a rematch of last year's 2A championship match -- won by the Scarlets in an overtime shootout.
It appeared the Marshall strategy was to get this game to a shootout. The No. 10 seed had lost on the Kennedy pitch 4-0 on Aug. 28.
The Tigers allowed Willmar the territorial advantage throughout but a tenacious defense permitted few quality shots. The orange-shirted visitors didn't seem too concerned about applying pressure on Willmar goalie Charlie Trochlil, who nonetheless was forced to make two big save just before the 10 minute mark of overtime, when the teams switch goals.
Willmar took full advantage of sharp north wind (34 degrees wind chill) and pounded away at the Marshall zone. Finally, David Dominquez and Christian Vallecillo were able to control the ball in the middle, just above the box, with Dominquez punching the ball to Becerra.
The lean attacker was well covered but managed to get off a strong kick barely beyond the reach diving Paul Citrowske, the Marshall keeper, ending 98 minutes off full-throttle soccer by both teams.
It was the Cardinals' fourth straight victory, all decided by a single goal, and their seventh straight game decided by one point.
With under three minutes left in OT, assistant coach Brad Haugen was drawing up a roster with Winter's imput for the shootout.
When he saw the ball on Becerra's foot, the head coach said: "Wait a second, I don't think we're going to need it."
Becerra also had two scores in Willmar's 3-2 upset of then No. 1 St. Cloud Apollo on Thursday.
Willmar 1, Marshall 0
Marshall (4-10) 0 0 0 -- 0
Willmar (9-8) 0 0 1 -- 1
FIRST HALF - no scoring
SECOND HALF - no scoring
OVERTIME - Wil: Junior Becarra (David Dominquez) 98:00
SHOTS ON GOAL - Marshall: xxxx ... Willmar: xxxx
GOALIE SAVES - Marshall: Paul Citrowski ... Willmar: Charlie Trochlil