Years of frustration were erased for the Newton High School boys’ soccer team against Liberal Thursday when Edward Valdivia tapped the ball to Andy Deckert, who tapped the ball to Jose Rojas, who put the ball into the net, giving the Railers a 3-2 overtime win in the Class 5A regional finals at Fischer Field.
The goal came in the 91st minute to send the Railers to the state quarterfinals for the first time in five years.
“I just knew I had a goal,” Rojas said. “I had way too many opportunities to score a goal. I didn’t feel like I played well today. I just had to score one. When I got that pass, I knew I had it. The keeper was on the front post and I hit it to the back post. He didn’t have the space needed. (Their first goal) was a very unlucky goal. We knew we were better than that. Back in 2006, my brother lost against them, so I’m glad we won this one. The wind made our touches a little tough. We had to adapt.”
“The first goal was an unfortunate goal,” Newton coach Scott Jantzi said. “It got headed backwards. They had a great one-touch finish. Any other night, that’s probably not going in. We played a nice ball to Santíago (Fernandez). After that, you could see the momentum change. We put a lot of pressure on them. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get another goal. We had several that were on the line and got kicked away. The guys fought and they fought. Liberal knows how to win, especially in the post-season. It was great that we finished. Jose had been down on himself, but he turned into the hero tonight.”
Liberal scored on its second shot of the game when Mike Fonseca took a long pass that skipped off the head of a Railer defender and shot it in in the sixth minute.
Newton took control of the half from there, outshooting Liberal 10-1. Newton tied the game in the 15th minute when freshman Santíago Fernandez took a pass from Edward Valdivia and scored.
Valdivia took a ball off the keeper and shot it in to put Newton ahead in the 35th minute.
Each team had scoring chances early in the second half. Newton had two balls kicked off the goal line by Liberal defenders.
Fonseca scored in the 74th minute off a direct kick the Railers failed to clear. Newton missed several chances in the remaining time.
Newton outshot Liberal 6-4 in the second half, but Liberal held a 3-2 advantage in shots on goal.
Newton had the only two shots of the first half of the first overtime.
“We had cramping and all kinds of stuff,” Jantzi said. “We had to adjust the lineup a little bit. Late in the game, we got put under some pressure. We were able to weather the storm and move on to state.”
Ramon Hernandez had 11 saves in goal for Liberal. Hervey Medina had four saves for the Railers.
Liberal ends the season 5-13. Newton is 12-6 and plays Tuesday against 14-3-1 Kapaun-Mt. Carmel at the Stryker Soccer Complex in Wichita. Kapaun advanced with a 2-1 win over Maize South.
1. L Mike Fonseca (unassisted) 5:27
2. N Santíago Fernandez (Edward Valdivia) 14:32
3. N Valdivia (unassisted) 34:52
4. L Fonseca (Elmer Rivera) 73:40
5. N Jose Rojas (Andy Deckert) 90:56
Total shots — Lib. 3-4-(0-0)—7, New. 11-6-(2-1)—20. Shots on goal — Lib. 3-3-(0-0)—6, New. 9-2-(2-1)—14. Saves — Lib.: Ramon Hernandez (L) 7-2-(2-0)—11. New.: Hervey Medina (W) 2-2-(0-0)—4. Corner kicks — Lib. 4, New. 4. Fouls — Lib. 12, New. 19. Offside — Lib. 2, New. 7. Cautions — Lib.: Fonseca 70:13. New.: Jesus Reyes 66:57, bench 84:00, Alex Sanchez 86:32.
South-Central Regional Finals
Maize 1, Goddard Eisenhower 0
Bishop Carroll 2, Emporia 1
Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 2, Maize South 1
Northeast Regional Finals
Blue Valley Northwest 10, Kansas City Washington 0
Mill Valley 8, Shawnee Heights 1
Olathe West 3, Kansas City Wyandotte 2
St. Thomas Aquinas 5, Topeka Seaman 1
Maize (9-8-1) at Bishop Carroll (9-8-1) 6 p.m.
Newton (12-6) vs. Kapaun-Mt. Carmel (14-3-1) at Stryker Complex, Wichita 6 p.m.
Olathe Northwest (6-12) at Blue Valley Southwest (17-0-1) 6 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas (12-4-2) at Mill Valley (14-4) 6 p.m.
at Maize High School soccer field
Pairings set after Tuesday’s matches
Finals and third-place matches