A stunning stoppage time goal by Stephen Vick proved to be the difference as No. 5 seed University High School defeated Northlake Christian 2-1 in Division III boys soccer quarterfinal at Jeff Boss field on Wednesday night.
The Cubs will play top-seeded Newman in the semifinals.
The two sides ended the first half tied 1-1, and the match looked set for extra time when Vick’s free kick from 40 yards out sailed over the head of Wolverines goalkeeper Josh Landry and into the goal. Landry dropped to the ground in shock as the Cubs celebrated their hard-fought victory around him.
“That was an exceptional victory for us,” University coach Chris Mitchell said. “We persevered, and that was key for us. We’ve been talking about it this year, that’s happened to us twice this year. We harped on it at halftime: this is going to be our game; it’s not going to be pretty but it was going to be effective and that’s what we did.”
No. 4 seed Northlake dominated both possession and field position in the second half, but was undone by Vick’s perfectly placed kick right at the death.
“They served a dangerous ball in and it went over my keeper’s head and into the goal,” Wolverines coach Nick Chetta said. “It was a tough break. In the second half we dominated, and we had a lot of opportunities and we just didn’t convert. When you do that you open the door. U High, give them credit, they answered the call.”
University dominated the opening 20 minutes of the game, and the Wolverines struggled to maintain their composure in the face of the Cubs’ pressure. In the 22nd minute, the tension boiled over when Northlake co-captains Cam Broussard and Weston Acosta got into a heated argument at midfield.
The Wolverines got back into the match as the half wore on, and Mason Cook had a pair of good chances but was unable to convert either.
That did little to settle Northlake down however, and almost immediately after Acosta threw an elbow in the direction of Cole Katzenstein in the 29th minute, Broussard received a yellow card for fouling a Cubs player.
University opened the scoring two minutes later, when Padial sent a ball into the penalty area that Landry missed, leaving Mathew Berg to tap home the goal.
Northlake scored an equally easy goal in the 39th minute to tie the match up, when Acosta slotted home into an open net after Johnson failed to hold onto a Mason Morise free kick.
Northlake dominated the second half, but the two teams shared the yellow cards as the match maintained a contentious tone.
David Barry received a yellow card for fouling Morise in the 55th minute, and Max Miller earned one 20 minutes later after fouling Carter Stone in retaliation for a shove on Acosta.
The Wolverines attacked furiously as the match inched closer to its conclusion and almost scored several times. In the end, however, it was Vick’s stunning free kick with no time remaining that proved to be the difference.