Palmer Ridge ends Devils season in double OT
GYPSUM — It was a great game. It just didn’t end up the way Eagle Valley soccer wanted.
Palmer Ridge’s Harrison Hornung scored three minutes into double overtime sending the No. 20-ranked Bears to the second round of the 4A state soccer playoffs at Evergreen after a 2-1 victory over the Devils on Wednesday at John Ramunno Field in Gypsum.
“(Teammate) Justin (Roewer) had a great shot. The keeper (Eagle Valley’s Bryan Grado) made a great save,” Hornung said. “That is a beast of a keeper. If you look at him, he’s 6-6. It’s crazy. The keeper made a great save, but he spilled it on the six. I was running up and the one thought I had was, ‘I’ve made this shot 1,000 times. Don’t put it 50 feet over the bar.’”
Hornung found nothing but net and found himself at the bottom of a pile of his entire team.
Meanwhile, it was a tough loss to cap a great season for Eagle Valley.
“We seem just not to have good luck in overtime,” Devils coach Bratzo Horruitiner said somewhat jokingly.
One laughs so one does not cry. Eagle Valley finishes the season at 12-4 with three of those blemishes in extra time.
That doesn’t take away from the Devils’ rise in 2015. They were 6-8-1 last year and turned it around to make the team’s first playoff appearance since 2009.
“I’m so proud because this has been a team,” Horruitiner said. “We have talented individuals, but they all play like a team. It’s a team that grew with every game. It’s not only on the soccer field, but inside the school. I feel like this is a family. A family doesn’t get disappointed because of a loss. A family stays strong through problems and that’s all I can ask.”
The last time Palmer Ridge was in the playoffs was 2012. During the Bears’ run to the finals, they beat Cheyenne Mountain in double overtime in the quarterfinals. Jimmy Kochanski had the golden goal then when Hornung was a freshman.
“I looked up to that guy more than anyone,” Hornung said. “I’m just glad I could replicate it.”
While Palmer Ridge will remember this as the game Hornung scored the golden goal, Bears keeper Mason Cresap merits more than a footnote. He stopped two excellent Eagle Valley scoring chances earlier in the second overtime.
The Devils’ Aaron Ledezma crushed a shot that Cresap knocked over the bar. Cresap also robbed Francisco Serna on the next sequence.
Palmer Ridge’s Garrett Obermeyer broke the seal on this one during the 13th minute. Eagle Valley equalized in the 35th with a Ledezma corner kick to the opposite post. That’s where Aldo Palacios had the presence to settle the ball and crush the finish.
That would be all the scoring until the second overtime.
“I told the guys that there’s nothing more exciting than winning an overtime playoff game,” Bears coach Nick Odil said. “They haven’t had that experience before, so that’s one of those life things they’ll remember. Unfortunately it hurts real bad when you lose, so I feel for those guys over there.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.