Down by a goal in the second overtime, Phoenix Brophy Prep’s survival instinct took over against Phoenix Alhambra in Wednesday’s (Feb. 12) Division I soccer semifinal.
The Broncos scored the tying goal just 15 seconds after Alhambra took the lead, and the match went to penalty kicks with a 2-2 score on the board at Gilbert Campo Verde.
Brophy took a 4-3 lead in penalty kicks after its fifth attempt by Fergus Shanks, giving Alhambra one last attempt to tie it and continue the duel.
Senior goalkeeper Phil Mourikes stopped Alhambra’s final shot, keeping Brophy’s chance alive to repeat its title with a 3-2 victory.
Second-seeded Brophy (20-2) will meet either No. 1 Chandler Hamilton or No. 5 Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor in the championship match on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Campo Verde. No. 6 Alhambra finished 17-2-1.
“We couldn’t connect on a lot of our chances. Their defense was good and they are a good team,’’ said Brophy coach Noah Lewkowitz.
Alhambra had a 1-0 lead at halftime after scoring on Josias Ortiz’s goal in the seventh minute.
Lewkowitz admitted his team panicked a bit as it tried to even things up. At the half, he told his players they would get the goal back in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and the Broncos did, in the seventh minute by Javi Bernaldo.
Back and forth it went, but no shots in the net after that, or in the first 10-minute overtime.
With 7:25 to go in the second extra session, Alhambra took a 2-1 lead when a player headed a corner kick toward the goal and Benny Meza deflected it in.
Brophy then took the ball to the other end and scored 15 seconds later on a goal by John Rea.
Lewkowitz admitted he was surprised by his team’s quick turnaround and didn’t really see the goal.
“After we went down 2-1, I was trying to figure out, “What are we going to do now?’ ’’ he said.
He said his team had trailed before this season and was able to come back, “so that was helpful when we tried to come back this time.’’
Being the defending champ brought added weight to the players this season, sometimes made them nervous, but Lewkowitz said it also helped that the program has been successful in the past, that the players wanted to carry it over.
Alhambra coach Zachary Zamenski admitted that the way his team lost was a letdown, but that he was proud of his players just the same.
“We felt that if it went to penalty kicks, we had the talent to win it,’’ he said. “We had one of our best players (Ortiz) taking that last one, and in a penalty kick situation, sometimes that (Brophy stop) is going to happen.
“It’s a tough way to go. We don’t have the history that Brophy does, but we have a great group of kids. Rest assured, we’ll be back.’’