Alejandro Espindola scored from 17 yards in sudden death, giving top-seeded Washington Union a 2-1 victory over No. 2 Mission Oak in a Central Section Division III boys soccer championship at John Ventura Stadium on Friday.
Espindola said there was no way he wanted the match decided on penalty kicks – the final step if the teams had remained tied through overtime. If an opportunity presented itself, he wanted to get a shot at the net.
“See if it goes in and it went in,” Espindola said. “I was like, ‘We’re going to win and it’s going in.’ Going to penalty kicks was the last resort. We couldn’t get there. We’ve been battling the whole year for it and this is where we wanted to be. We were pumped after we scored that first goal. We were like, we’re going to make it and we’re going to do it.”
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The Panthers (28-1) trailed in the first half 1-0, but leveled the match in the second half on Hector Pacheco’s goal.
Washington Union has now won two section titles, with the first coming in 2014 in Division IV.
“I’ve been in this program for the past 22 years and the last five years has been wonderful,” said Washington Union 14-year head coach Luis Robles. “We got to three finals and we won two. It’s just beautiful.”
Central Section soccer championships
Division I: Sunnyside at Clovis North, 1 p.m. Saturday
Division II: Reedley d. Redwood (5-4 on PKs)
Division III: Washington 2, Mission Oak 1
Division IV: Mira Monte 1, Lindsay 0
Division V: Chavez 4, Mendota 1
Division VI: Orange Cove d. Strathmore (PKs)
Division I: Buchanan at Liberty-Bakersfield, Feb. 27, 6 p.m.
Division II: Edison 3, Tulare Western 1
Division III: Independence 2, Hanford 0
Division IV: Kingsburg 1, Foothill 0
Division V: Orosi 1, Sierra Pacific 0
Division VI: Rosamond 1, Fresno Christian 0