The Salem High boys’ soccer team was eliminated from post-season play in a most disappointing fashion Monday, falling to Bassett in penalty kicks after playing to a scoreless tie. The Bengals “out-kicked” Salem, 4-3, from the penalty line to defeat the Spartans in a game that had a regional berth on the line.
The Bengals were the top seed in Conference 24 with a 10-2 record but Bassett and Salem didn’t have many common opponents. Most of their games were defensive battles and this match proved to be the same.
After a nil-nil regulation, the games remained scoreless through two regular overtime periods and two golden goal(sudden death) overtime periods. It then went to penalty kicks, and Salem held a 3-1 edge after two and a half rounds. However, the officials had miscounted and led Salem to believe they had won the game.
“Our kids came out on the field and celebrated,” said SHS coach Dean Jones. “Then they realized it wasn’t over.”
Bassett made their third kick to pull to within 3-2. The Bengals then made their last two while stoning Salem twice to pull off the win and end Salem’s season at 6-10-2.
It was a disappointing loss for the Spartans, who had momentum on their side. Salem beat Pulaski County last Thursday in Dublin, 3-1, to clinch fourth place in the conference. Then, in the Conference 24 tournament opener, Salem beat the Cougars again at Spartan Field Saturday, 2-1 in overtime.
This was a game started at 1 pm and finished after 6 pm due to overtime and weather delays. The Spartans struck first on a beautiful goal by Sahil Patel, delivered on a cross from sophomore wing Trenton Blais. The left footed pass met on rushing Patel coming in from his right wing position as he headed the ball into the goal while on the run.
Pulaski would not tie the game until the 70 minute mark, when Pulaski striker Franklin Lopez, sent a long shot into net to tie the score at 1-1. The teams then played two five minute overtime periods without a score. This brought on the first of two golden goal five minute periods, and it was sudden death to the Cougars when the winning goal was scored by Blais, who headed in a direct kick by Alec Mowry.
That victory put the Spartans one win shy of a trip to the regional, but Monday’s loss denied them of that. Bassett and William Fleming will represent Conference 24 after playing for the tournament championship in the conference final.