Edwin Aquino scored a golden goal in the second overtime to lift the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win over Mt. Rainier on Tuesday night at Edgar Brown Stadium and into the Class 4A state quarterfinals for the third consecutive year.
The goal served as redemption for the sophomore midfielder Aquino, who missed high on an open shot on Pasco’s previous possession.
“It feels amazing,” said Aquino, who also had an assist. “I got the opportunity and had to finish it. I couldn’t disappoint my teammates.”
The Bulldogs will hope the third time’s the charm, as they lost their past two quarterfinal tilts, both times against Central Valley. This time around they will host defending state champion Wenatchee — beat Tahoma 1-0 — at 2 p.m. Saturday.
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“Every year is different, and every one of these state runs is special,” Pasco coach Matt Potter said. “They’re all great.”
Pasco beat Wenatchee 1-0 on April 5.
It was the second time in as many years Pasco knocked Mt. Rainier out in the opening round — the Bulldogs romped to a 4-0 win last year. Senior forward, and captain, Briskans Shibale did what he could to extend his high school career, scoring two goals to bookend the scoring in regulation, but it wasn’t enough to get the Rams (9-5-3) through.
Despite Pasco peppering shots on goal early and often, it was Mt. Rainier that got on the board first in the 26th minute. Pasco goalie Frank Moreno fended off the first shot from a Rams’ onslaught, but Shibale was there to one-time the loose ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
“No, not really (worried at halftime), but everybody was heated because we’re not supposed to be losing,” Aquino said. “But we worked as a team and made it come together at the end. It took us awhile, but we got it to extra time, we got the point and we’re headed to the quarterfinals.”
Pasco (16-4) rallied the troops after that, but watched play after play come to a frustrating end until, in the 61st, Luis Ortega hit a low cross into the box that found Aquino, who skipped the ball across to Jesus Meraz Rodriguez for a pretty, right-footed finish to tie the score at 1-all.
The go-ahead goal came much quicker for Pasco, as Ortega managed to get on the end of a Joel Valle corner kick in the 75th for a 2-1 advantage. The party was short-lived as Shibale doubled up two minutes later with the equalizer for Mt. Rainier.
But the Bulldogs didn’t let that setback, or any of the many others that arose, knock them off course.
“Our guys are tough, and I probably don’t give them enough credit for that,” coach Matt Potter said. “We ran hard in the second half and even harder in overtime. No matter what, these guys are gonna keep pushing forward.”