In a match between two evenly matched programs, it was only fitting it took more than the regulation time.
Alex Rojas’ goal in the second overtime period (96th minute) gave No. 15 seeded Northshore a 2-1 win over No. 18 New Iberia in the bidistrict round of the LHSAA Division I boys soccer playoffs in Slidell.
Northshore now awaits the winner of No. 2 Acadiana and No. 31 Pineville in the second round.
Coming out from the first whistle with a gameplan to continually attack the New Iberia goal, Northshore kept possession for a majority of first half. Juan Pena’s blast in the 19th minute capped the impressive early offensive attack.
“These were two teams that were really good matchups,” Pena said. “A match like this really deserved to go into overtime. Both teams played extremely hard from start to finish, but we wanted it more. We could just tell that out on the field and we fought from the first whistle to the very end and we are able to continue playing. Our coaching staff always tells us to stay strong until the very end.
“My goal to get us on the scoreboard was simple. It was just a one-hitter. I was fortunate enough to get the ball in a good position and was able to put it into the back of the net. It is really all you can ask for as a player.”
New Iberia tied it at 1-1 in the 63rd minute on a flying left-footed kick by Brandon Dewey that found the right corner of the net past a diving Panthers goalkeeper Larry Newby.
The scored remained tied at the end of regulation and through one 10-minute overtime period. However, Rojas’ goal with less than five minutes remaining in the second overtime period sent the Panthers home victorious.
“Both teams fought hard throughout the entire match,” Rojas said. “Games like this are fun because they come down to the wire. It was a team effort. We know team efforts are going to get us wins and when you are in the playoffs you aren’t worried how you win, you just want to advance.
“For my goal I just knew I wanted to get a good shot on goal and get it into the back of net. My biggest focus was to get something strong on it and it was strong enough to get past the goalkeeper to help us advance.”
The game was a rematch between the two teams which last met in 2011. Northshore held a 1-0 lead until the final 90 seconds of the match before New Iberia scored a pair of goals to come away with a win.