Mark Moulton calls it “crunch-time mode.”
They’re the moments when he and his Omaha Creighton Prep teammates must produce or lose.
“We seem to play our best soccer then,” Moulton said.
That was on full display again Saturday when the third-ranked Junior Jays came back from two second-half deficits and an equalizer in the final two minutes for a 4-3 victory over No. 6 Omaha Westside at Creighton’s Morrison Stadium.
The match, part of the Kicks for a Cure event, was a rematch of last year’s Class A boys state championship and featured four scores in the final 17 minutes and three ties.
“We wouldn’t expect anything different in a Prep-Westside game,” Junior Jays co-coach Tom Hoover said. “It wouldn’t matter if it was pingpong or tiddlywinks, it would have been just like this.”
A scoreless first half gave way to a second-half scoring spree.
Westside senior Ali Sodal got things going, saving a ball from going past the touch line and getting a lob pass from a tough angle all in one motion. His assist found the head of teammate Chase McCann for a goal 3½ minutes after the break.
Prep answered 11 minutes later when Justin Schrager sent a shot from the left angle into the right side of the goal to tie the score.
The Warriors went up again 2½ minutes after that when Sodal converted on a penalty kick to swing both the score and momentum back to Westside.
They were each short-lived, though. Creighton recruit Alex Prusa scored on a free kick and a shot much like Schrager’s less than a minute later.
“It seemed like every time we scored, it energized them,” Westside coach John Brian said.
Prep, he said, “is dangerous anytime. But when they get down, they don’t give up. It’s just not in their DNA.”
Brian’s team wasn’t done, either. Sodal took a pass on a dead sprint up the left side, stopped at the top corner of the box, went right and burned one in to tie the score for the third time in the second half, this one with less than two minutes to play.
Any thoughts of overtime were put to rest just 23 seconds later, when Moulton finished things off. The UNO recruit took a chip pass from Schrager into the left side of the box and again went across the face of the goal with his shot, placing it perfectly into the right side for the game-winner.
“We made eye contact,” Moulton said of Schrager. “I knew it was coming, and I knew what I had to do with it.”
Omaha Creighton Prep (12-2) ........................... 0 4—4
Omaha Westside (9-3) ........................... 0 3—4
Goals: OCP, Justin Schrager, Alex Prusa 2, Mark Moulton. OW, Chase McCann, Ali Sodal 2.
Omaha South 2, Millard West 0
Michael Jaime scored in the first half and Abel Alvarado added one after the break as top-ranked Omaha South added to its record-breaking season with a 2-0 victory over No. 5 Millard West in the title game of the Packers’ Van Metre Invitational.
The Packers broke the Class A record for goals in a season in a 10-0 win Friday night over Glenwood, Iowa. Saturday’s scores give the Packers 102 on the season. They have given up only two goals all season.
“To be honest, I didn’t think we played very well today,” South coach Joe Maass said. “We just didn’t have that feel.”
Jaime’s goal came in the 12th minute, and Alvarado added his with just more than five minutes to play. In just one match all season — an overtime victory over Prep — have the Packers scored less than two goals. It was only the third time this year they’ve failed to get to three.
Millard West (9-5) ........................... 0 0—0
Omaha South (16-0) ........................... 1 1—2
Goals: Michael Jaime, Abel Alvarado.
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