Eighty minutes of regulation wasn’t enough. Neither was 30 minutes of overtime.
The semi-final match between Georgia and Washington in the 1995 boys’ region went to a shootout on a chilly night in the desert Friday night at the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program National Tournament, with Washington winning 2-1 (4-2 on penalty kicks).
Washington goalie Christhian Robles was superb in the shootout, stopping two of the four kicks that came his way.
Kyle Bjornethun, Miguel Medina and James Molyneux-Elliot converted their kicks to give Washington the lead before Joseph Gillies nailed the clincher that set off a frenzied celebration.
Washington had to rally to earn their berth in the national championship finals, however. They trailed at halftime after a late goal by Georgia’s Cameron Moseley. After Washington failed to clear the ball from deep near their goal, Moseley took a crossing pass and headed the ball in past a diving Robles for the early lead.
But Washington head coach Scott Uderitz told his squad to stay confident and patient at halftime, telling them their hard work would eventually pay off.
It did just minutes into the second half as Jacob Hauser-Ramsey scored from 12 yards out to even the score.
“We just stuck with our game plan. We felt pretty unlucky not to get at least one in the first half,” he said. “The team just persevered. They really pulled through at the end and it was a great team effort.”
After an exhausting and arduous game, Uderitz was focused on getting his players rested for Sunday’s final.
“We spent a lot of energy in this game,” Uderitz said. “We’re getting them focused for the next game but we’re confident we can win this thing.”
Washington will play Virginia in Sunday’s final after they defeated Illinois 1-0. The lone Virginia goal came from Peter Pearson in the 17th minute.
Despite the win, Virginia head coach Matt Badiee said there was room for improvement on multiple levels before Sunday.
“We are a way better team and didn’t play the way we usually do,” he said. “We are a team that likes to possess and knock the ball around. I’m hoping we can make some changes before Sunday. We’ll give it a try.”
As for both the 1994 and 1995 girls’ finals on Sunday, New Jersey and Cal South will tangle for bragging rights.
In an earlier 1995 girls’ semi-final match, Cal South defeated Illinois 2-0 to advance to the national championship title game on Sunday.
Despite watching an unsettled game early on from his squad, Cal South head coach John Napier was pleased to see his team move on.
“I think we played some good soccer after the first 20 minutes,” Napier said. “We got our feet a little bit and started moving the ball better. And then we got a couple goals which made the difference.”
Christine Settles and Brooke Booth scored two minutes apart in the latter stages of the first half to give Cal South the push they needed.
New Jersey also looked impressive in their 4-0 win over North Carolina in the other 1995 girls’ semi-final match.
Erin Smith scored in the 18th minute, Erica Murphy scored in the 47th minute and Schuyler DeBree added a tally in the 49th minute for New Jersey. Nicole Brennan iced the game in the 54th minute with a goal of her own.
New Jersey head coach Glen Crooks was impressed by his team’s balance on both sides of the ball.
“It was a really well played match for our group,” Crooks said. “We defended well and then when we won the ball we kept it. We have a high level of talent in this group.”
The 1994 girls’ final will also pit Cal South against New Jersey.
Cal South won their semi-final match 4-3 against Michigan behind two goals from Kodi Lavrusky in the 4th and 67th minutes and also from goals by Makenzy Doniak (40th) Taylor Alderete (63rd).
New Jersey’s ’94 defense pitched a shutout in their semi-final match, a 2-0 win over Georgia. Katelyn Kraft (28th) and Gabby Galanti (43th) provided the offense for New Jersey.
The fourth national championship match on Sunday will be Cal South against Iowa for the 1994 boys’ crown.
Iowa edged Florida behind two goals from Tyler Chavez (54th and 90th minutes) and also with a tally from Gabriel Christianson in the 27th minute.
Cal South defeated Eastern Pennsylvania in a thriller that wasn’t decided until the final few minutes. Trailing 1-0 in the waning minutes of the match, Cal South got scores from Willie Lopez and Sergio Buenrostro to give them a 2-1 win and a spot in the finals on Sunday.