After winning a playoff thriller in overtime on Tuesday and laying it on the line for 100 plus minutes on Friday, the McKinney boys soccer team dropped their regional quarterfinal playoff game in thrilling fashion to Sachse.
As the Mustangs topped the Lions in penalty kicks (5-4) to advance to the regional tournament next weekend in Round Rock. Sachse got a big equalizing goal by Luke Braswell in the 68th minute and a big save by goalie Miguel Gonzalez to pull out their biggest win of the season so far in the first ever penalty kick shootout in a playoff game in MISD Stadium history.
“In PK’s it’s always a 50/50 ball but sometimes you have to just react to it and that’s what I did tonight and fortunately I guessed right once to help my team pull off this big win,” Gonzales said. “I told my team before the shootout, if they help me out, I’ll help them out and that strategy worked. Now we need to regroup after this big win over a good McKinney team and prepare hard for the next round and hopefully we can keep advancing.”
With the win, Sachse becomes one of the only teams to say they eliminated both Boyd and McKinney in the same season after knocking out the Broncos as well last week in the bi-district round.
While Gonzalez was doing his thing in the net, Sachse’s Isaac Hulkewicz was preparing to drill the biggest kick of his career and of the Mustangs season. Hulkewicz’s penalty kick beat McKinney goalie Rafa Mejorado by going in on the left side of the net to cap off the Mustangs perfect flawless penalty kick session with the win. The winning kick is even more impressive when you add in the fact it was the first time Hulkewicz had attempted a PK in his career.
“We’ve been practicing penalty kicks a lot in practice, so I was ready for the moment and able to deliver when it counts,” Hulkewicz said. “It feels good to be going to the regional tournament to play in it because a few years ago I went to it as a spectator and watches or school lose in the regional semifinals. Hopefully this year we can get farther than that and take it all the way to state.”
While Sachse celebrated with friends and family, McKinney could do nothing but think about the lost opportunity. Despite being the last standing McKinney soccer program in the playoffs, this is the second consecutive season the Lions season ends on home turf in the regional quarterfinal round.
But even in defeat, McKinney has no reason the hang their heads as goals by Greg Lopez and Jake Myers in the 23rd and 28th minute respectively gave the Lions a 2-1 lead they held on to until Braswell’s goal. Just like they have all season, McKinney showed the grit and resolve the program has consistently shown in recent seasons, just the ball didn’t bounce their way this time.
Although the season didn’t end the way they wanted it to, with back-to-back region quarterfinals appearances on their resume, McKinney’s 2019 senior class will be remembered for quite a while.
“We went end into our circle before the penalty kick and our told our guys if we have to lose I’d rather lose this way because it’s much easier on the heart to lose like this than to lose in normal time,” said Micah Ardila, McKinney senior captain. “I love those guys and I’m proud of them because this is the way God wanted our season to end so I’ll accept it and move on. Our team legacy will always be there and I’m just glad I could throw another Ardila name into the record books.”