DENTON, Texas -- Two halves of regulation play and two overtime periods weren't enough to settle the boys soccer playoff battle between Southlake Carroll and Flower Mound Marcus on Tuesday night at Denton High School.
After the teams were tied at 2-2, Carroll got the best of Marcus in the shootout, 2-0, to win the Class 5A bi-district matchup between nationally ranked teams.
The Dragons, No. 2 in the ESPN Rise Fab 50, hit two out of three dribble-up shootout attempts and Carroll keeper Oshick Shams turned away all four attempts by the No. 35 Marauders.
“The first save is always most important,” Shams said. “I love these. I love the pressure. I love having the game on my back. Once I get the first one done, it’s all over.”
Carroll may have finished strong, but it was Marcus in control early.
The Marauders scored first just minutes into the match when Darin Kruzich volleyed a shot into the back of the net off a long cross from the left side.
“We had lost our shape a little bit in back and they played a great ball in behind,” Carroll coach Greg Oglesby said.
Carroll hit the equalizer halfway through the first half on an 18-yard shot from the left side by Matt Leach.
Carroll took the lead with three minutes left in the half off a header by Hunter Horvath that found the back of the net. Horvath had a similar opportunity minutes earlier, but had his header was blocked by a Marcus defender.
Just a minute later, Marcus midfielder Andre Reyes finished the play of the game, curling around in front of a free kick shooter to hit the bottom left corner of the net on a trick play off the restart, tying the game going into halftime.
The second half was all Marcus, as the Marauders caught Carroll on its heels with a speedy vertical attack that the Dragons defense could not match up against. The Marauders had several great scoring chances but could never capitalize.
Oglesby said he challenged his players, many of whom are seniors, to rise above the fatigue after regulation and play to continue their high school careers. The Dragons responded. The overtime periods remained balanced, leaving momentum up for grabs heading into the shootout.
“Everyone was pretty wiped out at that time,” Oglesby said. “It was a very physical game, very up and down the field. Fitness became a factor.”
Neither coach made many substitutions, leaving two very tired squads on the field to try and muster one last run to end the game.
The shootout was won by Carroll seniors Mac McGuire and Leach, who both beat the keeper to the bottom right of the goal.
“I think these are two of the better teams around,” Oglesby said. “It’s tough to meet in the first round like this because I think they have an excellent side and could have made it far.”
Carroll moves on to play Mansfield, which also advanced in a shootout, in the area round.