Heartbreaking loss ends Highlanders season
AUSTIN – The Woodlands senior Primo Covarrubias does not believe in luck.
The Woodlands ends 2014 season 21-1-1
Yet the Highlander forward had a difficult time explaining how McKinney Boyd defeated The Woodlands 2-1 in overtime in a Class 5A regional semifinal soccer match Friday at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.
“It’s not fair, but nothing is ever fair,” Covarrubias said.
His statement reflected the mood of his Highlander teammates, who lost for the first time all year. It was an afternoon filled with so many head-scratching moments, it was shocking to have their dreams of a state championship shattered by a team The Woodlands felt it should have beaten.
“We dominated,” said coach Hans Kleinschmidt, still shaking his head 10 minutes after the match. “We hit them in the head. We hit the post. Given McKinney Boyd credit for capitalizing on our mistakes and we didn’t.”
Locked in a 1-1 tie after 80 minutes, Boyd scored the go-ahead goal in the first 10-minute overtime on a kick by sophomore Cody Spitzer with 1:37 left in the period.
Given the 2-1 advantage, Boyd received terrific defense by junior goalkeeper Evan Davies. The Woodlands had an 18-9 edge in shots on goal, but Davies kept the Mustangs afloat with timely stops – and a pinch of luck.
Boyd’s good fortune was exposed by an incredible goal-saving block by senior Blake Bambico with eight minutes left in regulation. The Woodlands junior Bubacarr Jobe blasted a point-blank shot roughly 15 feet from Boyd’s net.
Jobe’s shot, though, hit Bambico squarely in the face, and it caromed harmlessly back into play.
“I think (Bambico) had some magic on that one,” Jobe said.
“He never even saw the ball coming,” Kleinschmidt added.
Just three days after The Woodlands scored four overtime goals in a 5-1 victory over McNeil, the Highlanders were blanked in the extra 20 minutes by Boyd.
“In most sports, the best team is the one that has the best game statistics-wise,” the coach said. “Soccer is one of those sports that isn’t the case.”
Spitzer, who scored both Boyd goals, gave his team a 1-0 lead just seven minutes into the game after scrambling for a loose ball and drilling it to the right corner of the net.
The Woodlands responded just eight minutes later when senior midfielder Marcelo Tamez corner kick from the left side found its way into Boyd’s net. The ball bounced off a Boyd defender and skipped past Davies.
The game remained tied after regulation despite some golden opportunities from the Highlanders. Jobe’s shot off Bambico’s face drew oohs and ahhs from fans of both teams. Later in the half, Highlander junior David Lee had a breakaway down the left sideline, but his shot bounced off the left post.
“You either get it in or you don’t,” said Covarrubias, expanding on his belief there is no luck in soccer. “Did you score or didn’t you score? Today we just couldn’t finish.”
The Woodlands finished its season 21-1-1. Boyd, 14-4-6, remains alive in the playoffs, one victory shy of the state tournament.
This marks the second straight year Boyd knocked The Woodlands out of the playoffs in the regional semifinals.
Lucky or not, the Mustangs move on.