The boys and girls of the Horizon Hawks soccer team secured a spot in the 1A Special District 7 league championship game on Saturday, Oct. 27 after defeating Damascus Christian in the league semifinal matchup on Monday, Oct. 22.
The semifinal matchup between the league’s fourth ranked Hawks and first ranked Eagles took both double overtime and two rounds of penalties to crown a winner, but in the end, the Hawks would win the second round of penalties 3-2 to take a 2-1 victory over the top-seeded Eagles.
Horizon’s victory over Damascus secured a shot at the league title, where they will face Crosshill Christian on Saturday, Oct. 27 in the league championship game.
This title game will be a rematch of the Sept. 7 matchup between the two schools; Horizon came away with a 2-1 home victory over Crosshill Christian.
Results of the final’s matchup on Oct. 27 will be covered in the Oct. 31 edition of the Hood River News.
In the semifinal game, the Hawks and Eagles ended up tying 1-1 in regular time.
The Hawks scored off a throw-in from Derek Johnston, which was then kicked from Kaitlin Wenz to Bailey Holste on the six-yard line who shot it into the back of the net at the 40-minute mark in the first half.
Damarcus’ goal came 15 minutes into the second half, as Horizon’s center midfielder Kyle Brown went in for the slide tackle and took the ball away from a Damascus forward, but the referees called a penalty kick against the Hawks.
The player fouled for Damascus laced it into the back of the net to tie up the game at 1-1.
Plenty of chances followed for the Hawks to put this game away in regular time, but both teams went scoreless in the final 30 minutes of play to move into overtime.
In overtime, neither team was able to find the back of the net, sending the boys and girls into a penalty shutout.
Damascus started off shooting in penalties and missed its first shot.
“We felt pretty hopeful and excited when Kyle Brown stepped up to the penalty spot for us,” said Horizon head coach Andrew Stenberg.
Brown’s shot, however, would be blocked by the Eagles’ goalkeeper.
After a miss and make in the next two attempts for both sides, the Eagles and Hawks each had one kick remaining in penalties.
The Eagles’ player stepped up and put it through the hands of the Hawks goalie, leaving senior Johnston to make his penalty shot to keep the Hawks alive.
Johnston placed the ball on the ground and hit it to the low right corner; the Damascus keeper got a hand on the ball, but Johnston hit it “with enough force that it bent the keeper’s hand backwards and it went into the goal,” said Stenberg.
“When the other team saw their keeper get a hand on it, they thought they had won, and our hearts skipped a beat, but when we saw the side netting shudder as the ball hit it, we felt the energy re-surge in us,” said Stenberg.
After a back-and-forth affair of blocks, misses and makes in the following five chances for each team, this semifinal game would come to an end on the ninth penalty attempt.
Horizon freshman Luke Hardin, who Stenberg described as a “quiet and shy individual,” placed the ball on the ground and took three steps backwards before striding forward and hitting the ball towards the left side of the goal, where it went under the keeper for the Horizon victory.
“The bench rushed the field and the team gathered together jumping and celebrating,” said Stenberg. “You may have even seen a 5-feet, 9-inch bolt of lightning as I ran as fast as I could to our goalkeeper, Josh Rogers, who kept us in it throughout the game.
“All in all, it was a very adrenaline-rushing experience,” said Stenberg. “Damascus was first in the league, and has stars across the board, but that couldn’t stop our full team of players as we battled them for 100 minutes before finishing the job in the shootout.”
Horizon will be playing for the league championship at Wilsonville High School at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 versus Crosshill Christian.