Ravenwood managed to keep its postseason hopes alive on Tuesday night, but just barely.
The host Raptors, who hadn’t surrendered more than two goals in a game all season, gave up five in their Region 6-AAA semifinal against visiting Antioch, but they still managed to escape with a win, edging the Bears in penalty kicks for a 6-5, season-saving victory.
“The truth is the game should have never gotten to that,” Ravenwood coach Jose Londono said. “After a 3-0 lead, it should have been over.”
Ravenwood (12-2), the District 11-AAA regular-season and tournament champions, led by three goals on two separate occasions on Tuesday — 3-0 and 4-1 — but the 9-AAA runner-up Bears (12-3-1) somehow managed to battle their way back, eventually tying things up at 5-5 by the end of regulation.
“There were so many things going on outside of the game that affected what happened on the field,” said Londono, referring to Tuesday’s raucous environment at Ravenwood High School. “There was definitely a lot going on, and I guess we lacked some maturity in regards to managing the game.
“There were errors made, and I think most of those were based on maturity.”
Neither squad managed a score in 30 minutes extra time, and after 110 minutes of level play, the match ultimately came down to penalty kicks.
“Credit Antioch,” Londono said. “I tip my hat off to them. They showed a lot of effort and desire, and they have some really, really good players who played an excellent game. I do feel bad for them.”
The Bears missed the mark on one of their penalty kick attempts, and Ravenwood keeper Ryan James turned away another.
Meanwhile, the Raptors buried all of theirs, including midifielder Jake Hill’s game-winner, which secured his squad a spot in Thursday’s Region 6-AAA title match against Brentwood, which topped Glencliff 2-0 on Tuesday.
Thursday’s championship will mark the third time the two crosstown rivals have squared off in the last three weeks. Ravenwood won the first meeting 4-2, and, one week later, downed Brentwood 2-1 in the District 11-AAA title match.
“Hopefully we’ll play well.” Londono said. “I’m looking forward to playing Brentwood again. We’ll see what happens. The players know each other very, very well, and we look forward to seeing them again.”