A mishit turned assist led Elkhorn South back to the state tournament Saturday.
The Class B No. 1 Storm capitalized on a squib of a shot late in the match to beat Elkhorn Mount Michael 1-0 in the B-2 district final and clinch a spot in next week’s state tournament.
“At the end of the day I think it just came down to wanting to go do the work,” Elkhorn South coach Jon Shaad said.
That and a little good fortune for the defending state champs.
Ryan Doyle’s shot from outside the box appeared to go off the side of his foot and to a space where only one player — teammate Markus Case — was residing.
“That was a pass all the way,” Shaad said with a grin.
Case calmly put away his fifth goal of the year on the back door with 16 minutes left for what stood as the match-winner.
Shaad said it wasn’t his team’s prettiest effort of the season, but the lessons learned from a schedule that featured seven matches against state tournament qualifiers paid off Saturday.
“If you ask the boys I think they’d tell you we’re capable of playing much better than we did,” he said. “But mentally they’re prepared to go in games like this where you have to go the distance. I don’t think we’ve had any easy games all season. And that’s what happens when you get to state, you get into close games.”
The Storm open the state tournament at 3 p.m. Friday with a quarterfinal match against No. 10 Crete at Creighton’s Morrison Stadium.
Elkhorn Mount Michael (10-9).....0 0—0
Elkhorn South (12-6).................0 1—1
Goals: ES, Markus Case.
Other Class B summaries
B-1 AT GRETNA
Gretna 3, Hastings 0: The No. 2 Dragons got goals from Jake Cover, Kortlan Franke and Hector Zapata to reach their seventh state tournament in eight seasons.
B-3 AT OMAHA SKUTT
Omaha Skutt 2, Blair 0: Anga Dumba and Ben Bausback each had a goal and an assist for third-ranked Omaha Skutt. The SkyHawks end a two-year state tournament drought with their 18th appearance in program history, the most in Class B.
B-4 AT SOUTH SIOUX CITY
South Sioux City 3, Waverly 0: Two goals from Martin Zamora and one from Edwin Macias lifted the No. 4 Cardinals, last year’s Class B runner-up.
B-5 At LEXINGTON
Omaha Gross 2, Lexington 1: Brodie Von Dollen and Joe Gallardo scored for the Cougars, who beat eighth-ranked Lexington to reach the state tournament for the second time in three seasons.
B-6 AT SCHUYLER
Schuyler 2, Norris 1, SO: The sixth-ranked Warriors won the shootout 4-3 to reach the state tournament. Schuyler has made the semifinals each of the past two years.
B-7 AT ELKHORN
Elkhorn 2, Scottsbluff 0: Bret Lange and Cole Alfrey scored to lead fifth-ranked Elkhorn to its second state tournament appearance in three seasons.
B-8 AT WILDERNESS PARK
Crete 2, Columbus 1, SO: The No. 10 Cardinals won the shootout 5-4 to clinch the first state tournament berth in program history.