KERNERSVILLE — A couple of unlucky bounces kept Mount Airy soccer from tying Bishop McGuinness in a 10-shot penalty kick shootout Friday afternoon.
The Bears and Villains decided to settle their tie for first place in the Northwest Conference on the field rather than with a coin-flip.
The tiebreaking showdown went the distance, with each team sending all 10 of their scheduled kickers into the penalty box. In the end, a heartbreaking and unfortunate miss from Jesus Orozco gave the Villains a 7-6 win and the right to represent the Northwest Conference as its top seed in the playoffs.
The Granite Bears can still claim the title as conference co-champions this season, but the road through the playoffs became a little trickier with this shootout loss.
Bishop McGuinness shot first, and both teams exchanged successful penalties through the first three shots. Jose Perez, Jeremy Chappell and Robert Brown were the opening scorers for Mount Airy.
Perez was also the goalie for the Granite Bears on Friday. The senior normally plays in the heart of Mount Airy’s attack, but Hurley listened to his players and went with Perez between the posts instead of Orozco, the usual keeper.
“(Jose’s) a senior and he volunteered,” Hurley said. “He and Jesus (Orozco) are really tight, and Jesus wanted Jose to do it. Jose was actually a keeper when he came from Mexico, and I was the one who moved him to the field. He’s very comfortable there.”
Bishop’s Brandon Linares made it 4-3 with a goal into the bottom left corner, and the Villains’ goalie made the first save of the shootout on Mount Airy’s next shot. Matthew Dodd sent his shot high and to the right, but Ben Chappelow guessed correctly and made the stop.
The Villains’ lead didn’t last long, as Perez responded with a save of his own on the next penalty and Gentry Williamson found the back of the net to tie it at four.
However, Mount Airy went on a drought and misses from Chandler Snyder and Malcolm Malone allowed Bishop to take a 6-4 lead through seven shots.
With his team in serious trouble, Perez started to show just how comfortable he was in front of goal. The senior guessed correctly and watched Bishop’s next shot sail over the bar.
Two penalties later, Perez dove right and made a kick-save with his feet to keep the match alive. Goals from Mount Airy’s Daniel Ballard and Julio Contreras made the score 7-6 heading into Mount Airy’s final kick.
Orozco stepped up looking to tie the match and send it to sudden-death. He sent Chappelow the wrong direction, but his low shot hit the left post, then teased its way across the face of the goal and hit off the right post before harmlessly rolling back into the field of play.
Mount Airy will receive news of its next opponent on Saturday when the NCHSAA releases the state brackets. The first round is scheduled to start Wednesday.
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16