Blue Comets fall in sudden death

Stephanie King

The 3A State Boys’ Soccer Playoffs kicked off on Saturday as the tenth-seeded Asheboro Blue Comets hosted the White Oak Vikings. Asheboro entered the game 17-1 on the season with their lone loss coming at the hands of rival Southwestern Randolph.

White Oak came out with something to prove as they jumped on the ball and kept it in their side of the field for the first few minutes of the first half. Asheboro’s defense took the ball away and the Blue Comets made their first run at the goal. The Blue Comet’s passes were on point, but the Vikings’ defense stepped up to keep the ball out of the net. Both teams had their fair shots at the goal during the first half, but both keepers had strong games in goal. Midway through the first half, the Blue Comets finally broke the Vikings’ defense and scored. Scott Villagrana found the back of the net at the 20:24 mark off an assist from Christian Jaimes. The rest of the half saw the Blue Comets set up several shots on goal, but the White Oak keeper was there for the save. Asheboro’s defense stood strong and held the Vikings scoreless for the rest of the half. At halftime, Asheboro led White Oak 1-0.

The teams came out ready to play in the second half as they both pressured the ball. It was a back and forth battle as both got their fair share of possessions. The Blue Comets maintained their lead for most of the second half and looked to be on their way to a first-round victory. Asheboro’s defense did an excellent job of holding the Vikings scoreless during the first thirty-five minutes of the half, but the Vikings eventually found their way around the defense. With just four and a minutes left in regulation, the Vikings tied the game at one all. Asheboro tried to retake the lead and Omar Aboutaleb had a great look at the goal with a minute left, but the shot sailed just wide of the net. The game would be tied 1-1 at the end of regulation.

Asheboro wasted no time finding the back of the net in the first ten minute overtime period as Jaimes scored just thirty-four seconds into the period off an assist from Aboutaleb. The Blue Comets defense stepped up during the rest of the first overtime period and held the Vikings scoreless. After one overtime period, Asheboro led 2-1. The second overtime period would go scoreless for the first seven minutes. Asheboro was leading 2-1 when White scored with just under three minutes left in overtime. Neither team was able to take the lead and the game would go into sudden death with the score tied 2-2.

The first five minute sudden death period when by without a score and the game was still tied 2-2 heading into the second sudden-death period. This one looked to be headed to penalty kicks as neither team could score early on. With 53.4 seconds left, the referee called a penalty on the Blue Comets inside the box after a Blue Comet player made a play on the ball by sliding into the legs of a White Oak player. The penalty would result in a penalty kick for the Vikings. White Oak nailed the penalty to end the game and defeat the Comets 3-2. The Blue Comets’ season comes to an end and they finish the season 17-2.

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