Class B soccer: South Sioux City shuts out Elkhorn South to win first boys title in five years with

South Sioux City celebrates a goal by South Sioux City's Michael Virgen, second from right, during the second half.

Coach Jose Gonzalez couldn’t have asked for a better effort or a better result for his South Sioux City boys team Tuesday night.

The fourth-ranked Cardinals scored a goal in each half and defeated top-ranked Elkhorn South 2-0 in the Class B championship game at Morrison Stadium.

“We took care of business today. The boys played tremendous. They executed the game plan to a T,” Gonzalez said. “I felt we had more intensity. We were quicker off the ball. We marked well. We didn’t give them much time to think.”

The Cardinals won their first state title since 2013. They also avenged a loss to the Storm in last year’s final when Elkhorn South won 3-2 in overtime.

On Tuesday, the Cardinals gave up few quality scoring chances as the Storm managed only six shots.

“I thought they defended very well. They were organized behind the ball,” Elkhorn South coach Jon Shaad said. “They put us under pressure, which took us out of our comfort zone. Tonight I thought they were on top of their game.”

Neither team had allowed a goal at state until South Sioux grabbed the momentum with 4:19 left before halftime when Martin Zamora Pagua scored.

Less than a minute before that goal, Elkhorn South had attempted a corner kick. South Sioux quickly counterattacked as Zamora Pagua gained possession near midfield and made a run to the left side of the Storm box before beating Parker Lundgren on a one-on-one opportunity.

“I kicked it with my left (foot), and as soon as I heard the sound of the net, it was an amazing feeling,” Zamora Pagua said.

The Cardinals kept the pedal down after halftime as they got some breathing room when junior Michael Virgen converted a free kick from 25 yards out with 20 minutes left.

Virgen’s shot went around the Elkhorn South wall and just inside the near post for his sixth goal of the season.

“We still were going to take the game to them,” Gonzalez said. “At no point were we going to back off.”

After starting the season 1-3, South Sioux finishes with a 17-5 record, with wins in its last seven games. Elkhorn South ends at 14-7, but Tuesday was the Storm’s first loss to a Class B team.

South Sioux City (17-5).........1 1—2

Elkhorn South (14-7).....................0 0—0

Goals: SSC, Martin Zamora Pagua, Michael Virgen.

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Gene covers a variety of sports beats for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @geneOWH. Phone: 402-444-1038.

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