Goalkeeper Will England gave his team a chance — twice.
Shelbyville’s boys soccer team took full advantage with a penalty-kicks victory over Southwestern Saturday morning in the semifinal round of the Shelbyville Invitational.
In the championship match against New Albany, England again came up with a save but the Golden Bears struggled to finish off the Bulldogs.
After Jayden Dover and Tim Clark sailed penalty kicks over the top of the goal, New Albany’s Chris Escobedo finished off Shelbyville 4-1 in penalty kicks for a 2-1 win Saturday night.
Shelbyville (1-2-1 this season) survived a physical affair with Southwestern in the morning, taking a 3-0 advantage in penalty kicks for a 3-2 victory.
New Albany then defeated Franklin Central in penalty kicks to set up the consolation and championship games.
Southwestern faltered late against the Flashes and suffered a 4-0 loss. Aidan Sample was credited with seven saves in goal for Southwestern (2-4).
The Golden Bears nearly missed the championship game after twice falling behind the Spartans in a morning game that featured several players well known to each other through their days of playing in the Blue River Soccer Association.
“Leading up to the game, we understood that this was probably one of the biggest games on their schedule. And we needed to come out and take them seriously,” said Shelbyville coach Ben Purvis who, along with former SHS coach Mike Eggleston, helped develop many players on both rosters. “We knew the talent was there. And clearly (Southwestern) has done well over the past couple of years as they’ve grown into really good soccer players.”
Noah Swift made Shelbyville pay for an early defensive communication miscue by blasting a shot past England less than 13 minutes into the game.
Trae Hassebroek tied the game late in the first half when he deflected a Tim Clark kick past Sample.
Eirik Shackelford put the Spartans back up with a direct kick that sailed high over England and into the corner of the net with 32:08 to go.
Shelbyville maintained pressure the rest of the way and it paid off with Tyce Taylor dribbling through the box and beating Sample with a shot with 6:38 left in regulation.
“That showed a lot of character,” said Purvis. “In the past, we’ve had teams where if you go down early, you can see that panic. I was really proud of the way we hung in and fought.”
The tournament format called for all tie games to go directly to penalty kicks. Each team selected five players to take turns shooting at the opposing team’s goalkeeper.
Hassebroek went first and delivered to make it 1-0. Southwestern’s Kendall Mangrum saw his shot deflect off one of the goalposts.
Adam Smith gave Shelbyville a 2-0 lead and that’s when England denied Swift’s penalty kick.
Taylor missed the goal high in round three but Zachary Swanson’s shot thudded off one of the goalposts.
Clark then ended the match with a good penalty kick.
Three of the four invitational matches went to penalty kicks and the semifinal pitting New Albany against Franklin Central was delayed due to weather. That made for a long day of soccer.
Less than three minutes into the championship, New Albany’s Asher Wheat put his team ahead with a goal off an assist by Matteo Urrego.
That was enough to get Shelbyville focused. Seven minutes later, Taylor headed in a corner kick by Clark to even the score. And despite several more good scoring opportunities, the Golden Bears failed to capitalize.
“We’re putting ourselves in the right position with a lot of our individual talent,” said Purvis. “I feel like we have the ability to take on anybody but until we put it together as a complete team, we’re going to be in fights like this the rest of the season. And that’s where one bounce of the ball, one mental mistake can define a game.”
In penalty kicks, both teams were successful through the first two rounds.
England made another terrific stop when he denied Hayden Krebs to give his team a chance to take control before a pair of kicks missed the goal completely.
“What we’ve preached with penalty kicks is put it on frame and make the goalie make a save,” said Purvis. “Unfortunately, we put a couple that weren’t on frame. Will got the stop we needed but, unfortunately, we didn’t help him out the way we should.”
Jeff Brown is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Jeff on Twitter at @iamtsnsports