Boys’ Soccer: Douglas comes up just short in state title game
Pitted against a team with superior speed and superior numbers, the Douglas boys’ soccer team gave all it possibly could Saturday afternoon in the state title game.
As it happened, the Bishop Gorman Gaels had just a little bit more, taking a 1-0 victory to win their second-consecutive state championship.
The Douglas defense, particularly goalie Jose Alcaraz, had its hands full with the Gaels’ offense as Bishop Gorman carried an 18-10 advantage in shots and put together countless impressive scoring opportunities.
The Tiger offense did its best against a physical Gorman defense and five big scoring opportunities in the last 12 minutes of the game, any one of which might have tied the score had the ball traveled just bounced a little different.
Alcaraz finished with eight saves, a couple of which came on one-on-one breakaways where he outplayed the attacker for the ball.
The Gaels capitalized on a slight defensive breakdown in the 63rd minute, scoring on a rebound shot after Alcaraz was able to make the initial save.
That ended up being all they would need.
Douglas answered by pulling out all the stops, including pushing Alcaraz up field and replacing him in net with Corbin Zumpft, who made two saves.
Just under two minutes into the switch, midfielder Edgar Arceo put a hard through ball in the penalty box to Eddie Vega, but the Gaels’ defense collapsed on the ball before Vega could get a shot off.
In the 70th minute, one of Douglas’ best chances of the game came when Andrew Andraski found Jeff Crozier open in front of the net, but Crozier got pushed down before he could make a play on the ball. No foul was called on the play.
Douglas’ last chance of the game came in the 75th minute when defender Ray Kaffer made a nice run down the sideline and got the ball through to Vega, but the Gorman defense again got in the way of the shot.
Douglas got strong efforts offensively from Dustin Goldade and Antoine VandenBulke, who had perhaps his best game of the season, distributing a numebr of passes into scoring opportunities for the Tigers.
Geoff Rahe also had a big game on defense, as did Kaffer, Brian Randall and Kyle Gardner.
Oscar Gonzalez shored up the middle and helped create a number of other scoring opportunities, but the Gorman defense was just to thick to overcome.
Douglas was in position to win the school’s first team state title since the fall of 1998 (girls’ cross country, volleyball) and the first boys’ title since 1979 (boys’ basketball). As it was, the Tigers still finished the season as Northern 4A Regional Champions and as the first Douglas boys’ soccer team to ever win a state playoff game (Friday night’s 2-1 epic win over Silverado.).