Miguel Chavez knew his playing career as a Pasco soccer player would come to an end some day. He just didn’t want it to come this soon.
But after four prosperous years as a Bulldogs midfielder, the hard-working senior had to accept that he had played his last game in purple and white after a 2-1 shootout loss to Ferris in the District 5/8 regional consolation final.
“It just shows you how easily four years of high school can be over if you don’t take advantage of it,” Chavez said after a final team huddle in the east locker room at Edgar Brown Stadium.
Pasco (12-7) was tough enough to erase a 1-0 deficit with 11 minutes left in regulation and hold off Ferris (15-2) — the Greater Spokane League co-champion — through two overtimes to force a shootout.
But the Saxons got two big stops from goalkeeper Alex Pells, a junior starting just his second varsity game, and hit all four of their attempts in the shootout to advance to the Class 4A state tournament.
“It was the best feeling to go out and make those saves,” Pells said. “My coach’s confidence in me to have me out there in goal — that’s a huge pressure situation, and that’s something I love, something I live for.”
Ferris outshot Pasco 8-2 in the first half, but neither team had many good scoring chances in the first 40 minutes.
The second half was a different story. The Bulldogs came out firing with three solid opportunities in the first 10 minutes — including a shot from the right wing by Emilio Meraz-Rodriguez that rang off the right post — but couldn’t convert any of them.
“To the guys’ credit, (the goals) didn’t come but I thought we kept on it,” Pasco coach Matt Potter said. “We have nothing to hang our heads about. It was a good game by two good teams. I was proud of the way we came back after being down one goal with 11 minutes left. A lot of teams might have packed it up and maybe given up another goal.”
Ferris got its first goal in the 63rd minute, when Eric Hollenbaugh controlled a pass in front of the Pasco goal, turned to his left and fired low to the right corner netting for a 1-0 lead.
Pasco came back with a sense of urgency and, fortunately, a goal six minutes later when Meraz-Rodriguez sent a pass up the left wing for Hector Magana, who took a few more dribbles up the flank and beat Pells with a shot to the right corner to even things up.
With 11 minutes left in regulation, the Bulldogs didn’t want to leave things to chance with a possible shootout looming. So they kept pressuring.
“We wanted top ut this game away with (a second) goal,” Chavez said. “We were going to keep trying until we got it.”Ferris did its best to break the tie as well, as Terry Cox got a clean shot on goal after a good cross in the 76th minute. But Pasco defender Oswal Lopez was there to block his shot on the goal line.
In the shootout, Pells stopped Pasco’s first shot by Meraz-Rodriguez and the fourth-round shot by Saul Chavez. Meanwhile, the Saxons quartet of Connor Ourada, Matt Beaulaurier, Jonathan Galgalo and Callan Martin each hit their shots for the win.
“I wish we could’ve had another opportunity. That post that Emilio hit should’ve gone in. It was really close,” Magana said. “I feel real sad for (our seniors), but I’m proud of them because they’ve been a real great example for us as people.”
Scoring—1, F, Eric Hollenbaugh (Terry Cox), 63:00; 2, P, Hector Magana (Emilio Meraz-Rodriguez), 69:00. Shootout goals (Ferris 4-2)—F, Connor Ourada, Matt Beaulaurier, Jonathan Galgalo, Callan Martin. P, Sergio Avalos, Magana. Shots—F 17, P 12. Saves—F, Alex Pells 4. P, Jon Rosas 4.