After a scoreless first half, the Pioneer and Huron boys’ soccer seasons would come down to 40 minutes – and what an exciting 40 minutes they were.
Pioneer scored first and then Huron quickly answered and Pioneer answered even quicker. This wasn’t going to be easy – for either side as both teams chased down balls, didn’t give an inch and demonstrated a high level of skill that earned them both excellent regular seasons.
After a semifinal District round that opened with Skyline beating Saline in overtime on Tuesday evening, the nightcap didn’t disappoint either.
Less than 2 minutes after Huron tied the score at 1-1, Pioneer retook the lead and then scored only a few minutes later to put the victory in the books and book a tee time with Skyline on Thursday in a District final.
The Eagles advanced with a 3-1 OT victory over Saline. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Skyline and should be another exciting final between two excellent teams.
Midway through the second half it appeared that the second game might need overtime to decide a winner as neither team could finish their scoring opportunities – and both teams had opportunities.
But with 22:59 left to play, Pioneer’s Tyler Wilkins scored on a shot from about 20 yards out to make it 1-0.
Huron had an answer and got level with 16:48 to play on a goal by Djimo Kouyate and the River Rats appeared to be fired up. It didn’t last long as the Pioneers responded quickly to the challenge – much like they’ve done all season.
With 15:25 left to play, Pioneer’s Diego Rivera netted his team a 2-1 lead. The junior came across the field and found himself unmarked about 20 yards in front of the Huron goal. Instead of rushing, he took his time and lofted a perfect ball that landed in the back of the net to push Pioneer back into the lead.
Freshman Leo Wilensky finished the scoring and the River Rats with a beautiful goal with 11:14 left in the game. Huron made some runs in the final 10 minutes, but Pioneer held on for the 3-1 win.