David Flores had already made a few critical saves in Saturday’s 4A Conference boys soccer state championship game. He saved his biggest one for when it mattered most, in the final game of his high school career.
Flores guessed correctly to knock away Bernardo Rebeil’s shot in the penalty kick shootout, and Bryan Delgado scored the clinching PK goal to give Scottsdale Coronado a 4-3 win over Tucson Salpointe Catholic at Gilbert Williams Field. Coronado earned its second state soccer title.
“I can’t explain it. In penalties, it’s 50-50,” Flores said. “I just took a chance to the left side. I had a lot of pressure, but I knew I could do it for my team.”
Flores wasn’t perfect prior to that, as Salpointe scored two second-half goals and another in the first overtime session. Salpointe led 2-1 early in the second half after trailing 1-0 at halftime.
Freshman Carlos Mendoza gave Coronado a 3-2 lead less than five minutes into the first overtime period, scoring from long range off a throw-in. But Salpointe’s Reed Foster headed in a loose ball before the first overtime period was over to tie it at 3.
Neither team could score in the second overtime and the two sudden-death five-minute periods, needing penalty kicks to decide the champion.
“If anybody would have told me before that you’re going to score three goals and then not win it, I would have said, ‘Get your head examined,’ ” longtime Salpointe coach Wolfgang Weber said. “I’m sure they felt the same way. It was really one of the better high school finals I’ve witnessed in quite awhile. Both teams left it all out on the field, and we just came up a little short.”
Top-seeded Coronado (16-3-1) completed a 13-game unbeaten streak with the state championship. It won all four playoff games by a single goal.
Adan Valle’s goal in the 19th minute opened the scoring. Valle controlled a ball about 12 yards from the goal and skimmed a low shot past Salpointe goalie Michael Sanchez.
The second half was action-packed. Salpointe sophomore Alfonso Cabrera tied the score at 1 in the 51st minute, converting a penalty kick after teammate Francisco Manzo was taken down in the box.
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Later, the second of two key saves by Flores saw him dive to stop a blast from Manzo from in front of the net.
Down 2-1 after Manzo put in a rebound in the 64th minute, Coronado attacked quickly. Raul Roa was taken down in the box, and Irvin Garcia covered the PK 24 seconds after Salpointe took its first lead.
The last few minutes of the half saw Garcia hit the crossbar with what could have been the go-ahead goal, and Niko Georgiev missed a wide open shot from in front that went high for Salpointe with just more than a minute to go.
Salpointe (20-4-1) had won two playoff games in overtime before Saturday.
Coronado made all five of its penalty kicks.
“This is a team that has heart,” Coronado coach Nick Barker said. “What they had was just belief. We’re going to enjoy this forever.”