There’s no easy way to lose a shootout. And the feeling is even worse in a sectional game.
Eastern’s boys soccer squad lost to Eastbrook a 6-5 in a shootout Monday night after a 2-2 tie in the opening round of the Class A Oak Hill Sectional.
“That’s my group of seniors I’ve coached since I started four years ago,” Eastern coach John VanMatre said. “We built up to this moment. Last year, when we had a disappointing loss over here, we went back and said we got up on that hump last year, we just didn’t get over the hump. This year we got over the hump. During the season, we played a lot better, we won a bunch of games, proved what we could do. This game, we had lots of opportunities to finish the game, to win it, and things didn’t bounce our way.
“It’s just a hard one to swallow.”
Eastern finishes the season 11-5. The Comets will surely rue a host of chances that got away.
The Comets tied the game at 2-2 in the 77th minute when Derek Conwell scored in the goal mouth on a long throw by Andrew Kerner. Moments later, Kerner was put in the clear right of the goal by Conwell but cranked a shot just over from deep inside the penalty area.
Then in the first overtime period, Grant Cole had a chance to score the winner when a Kerner cross found him dead center inside the box. Cole controlled and fired from point-blank range but Eastbrook goalie Donovan Elliott produced the biggest save of the night up to that point with a fingertip reaction stop.
A few minutes later, Elliott came up big again in the penalty shootout. Elliott got his fingertips on Cole’s shot, pushing it to the crossbar and over. Eastbrook’s Lucas Coyle then stepped up to the penalty spot and put in the winner.