Central Arkansas Christian’s Mustang soccer team came oh-so-close to winning its second state championship, but Valley View avenged a regular-season loss with a 2-1 win on penalty kicks.
The Blazers outshot the Mustangs on the penalty kicks, 3-2, at the University of Arkansas’s Razorback Field.
"That’s what happens in sports," CAC coach Fabian Mina said Monday. "Sometimes you get beat, but it’s harder when you beat yourself, and that’s what happened."
CAC, which was aiming to equal its 2008 state title, finished 18-3-1. The Mustangs had beaten the Blazers during the regular season, 2-0.
CAC went up 1-0 on Beau Barnes’ goal with 23:33 left in regulation. Valley View tied it with five minutes left on Taylor Brown’s goal, and the 1-1 score remained throughout regulation and the 20-minute sudden-death overtime.
During the PK, the Blazers got scores from Seth Vickery, Alec Roy and Cade Simmons; CAC’s Josh Holland and Dylan Sherrill provided the Mustangs with theirs, but Valley View’s keeper, Simmons, blocked two of CAC’s tries.
"We played OK, but not to our full potential," Mina said. "It’s a state championship game, and the kids played hard. But that’s what happens in sports. Even professional soccer players have a hard time with that. There’s lots of pressure, especially with these kids. I’m proud of them."
CAC will graduate five seniors.
"They’ve been with me for four years, and we’ve been really successful," Mina said. "But we’ll have a good team again next year. We’ll be young; we’re going to have only one senior, but we’ll be a strong, young team, and the program will continue growing.
"This is a really good senior class. We’re going to be OK. We’ll just close the book on this one."