COLUMBIA — Penalty kick shootout: Those three words cause anxiety for many soccer coaches, Rock Bridge assistant coach Alex Nichols included.
"That's the only bad part of soccer — penalty kicks," Nichols said. "It shouldn't be decided that way."
Class 3 third place game
Lee's Summit West (24-7) vs. Rock Bridge (27-4)
WHEN: Noon on Saturday
WHERE: Blue Springs South High School
But it was.
The Bruins lost 5-3 in penalty kicks to Oakville in a Class 3 semifinal on Friday night at Blue Springs South High School.
The loss drops Rock Bridge (27-4) into the third place game against Lee's Summit West (24-7). Oakville (21-7-1) advances to play DeSmet (24-4-1) in the championship game.
Rock Bridge senior goalkeeper Andrew Bare managed to get a touch on three of Oakville's five penalty kicks, but failed to keep any out of the net.
Oakville led 2-1 when Rock Bridge's Eli Sherman had his shot saved by Tigers goalkeeper Alec McChesney. That was the only shot McChesney saved, but it proved enough for Oakville to get the win.
"You can practice them as much as you want in practice, and we do, but you can't replicate a game-like situation," Rock Bridge head coach Kyle Austin said. "Especially with a state championship berth on the line."
Both teams had chances during the two halves and two overtime periods, but both defenses stood strong.
"I think our defense played stellar," Nichols said. "I think we had the best defense in the state. Hands down. Without a doubt. That's not an opinion. Nobody was going to score on us."
The Bruins coaches felt they had more chances.
"I thought we had a little bit better opportunities," Austin said. "Probably we were pretty unlucky not to put one or two of those away."
"I feel like the game should have been over," Nichols said. "We had chances to finish the game, and we just couldn't quite get it done."
Austin said tomorrow's game will be a tough one for his players, but he is confident his players would have something to prove.
"I don't think that anybody wants to end the season on two straight losses with the season we've had," Austin said. "I think the seniors will come out and show up in a big way. It'll be tough though. They had their eyes on a state championship."
One that came agonizingly close.
"This team could have easily won state this year," Nichols said. "The cards just didn't fall that way."