Kicks doom Pepi’s in quarters
VAIL, Colorado ” One of these days it’s going to work out for the Pepi’s men’s soccer team in the quarterfinals of the Vail Invitational Soccer Tournament.
Just not on this Sunday.
Centauros played the role of dream-dasher at the Vail Athletic Field sending Pepi’s packing after the much-dreaded penalty kicks to break a 1-1 tie.
Centauros’ Armando Peniche eliminated the hosts with his team’s seventh shot of PKs, sending Pepi’s home and his teammates barreling onto the field for a celebration.
“Last time I scored, someone punched me in the face. I don’t like it,” Peniche joked. “Afterwards when I’m recuperating, it’s good.”
PKs are a necessary evil in soccer and they were as capricious as ever Sunday. During the regulation five kicks, both teams had one shooter put his shot over the bar. Both goalies, including Pepi’s’ Josh Ruark, made one stellar save.
The fickle finger of fate touched Pepi’s’ Noel Reyes, who clanked his shot off the right post, setting up Peniche for the game-winner.
“It’s a lot of pressure. If you miss, you’re the villain. If you make it, you’re the hero,” Peniche said, summing up the situation well.
Pepi’s had hoped to avoid overtime and eventually penalty kicks, and looked like it might do just that against Centauros. The locals dictated for most of regulation and found the scoreboard when Jose Pavon stuck a shot from the left side from 30 yards out which clipped the right corner of the net.
Those who have watched Pavon back to his Battle Mountain days know this wasn’t a random cross. He has a habit of doing this.
Unfortunately for Pepi’s, that was the only chance ” and there were many ” it was able to convert.
“In any tournament, the key to advancing is finishing your opportunities,” Ian Douglas said. “We had a few. Unfortunately, the ball did not go into the net.”
This has been the story for Pepi’s in the quarterfinals for the last four years. Pavon’s goal Sunday was only Pepi’s’ second goal in the last four years in the Elite Eight (Jeff Hayslip, 2006).
Centauros’ Osvaldo Hernandez scored on a quick counter attack late in the second half to send the game eventually to kicks.
Gallegos loses friendly
EDWARDS ” As Jen Davin crossed the turf of Freedom Park, she asked, “Do I still have any friends over there?”
The answer came in the form of a cold beer, the universal peace sign in sports.
The ladies also took to the pitch during the Vail Invitational in the form of a friendly between Colorado Sporting, which included locals Caitlin O’Donnell and Davin, and Gallegos.
Colorado Sporting came away with a 4-1 win, but it seemed more like Homecoming.
With Battle Mountain alumnae Julia Burnett, Allison O’Neill and Morgan Wallace playing for Gallegos and former Huskies coaches Kate O’Connor and Davin also on the pitch, this seemed like a preseason scrimmage at times with one noticeable exception ” no snow.
“It’s great. It’s fun to see how good they are these days,” Davin said. “It’s nice because I know they’ll go hard against me.”
Colorado Sporting, with Davin and O’Donnell, was preparing for a national tournament in Seattle next month, while Gallegos was playing its first game of the season. So from a competitive standpoint, the visitors had the run of play.
O’Neill got a goal for Gallegos in the first half.
“We see each other a lot outside of soccer. We hang out still,” she said. “But it’s still fun to come out and play. It’s like old times.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.