Prep Soccer: Skalski's goal lifts Northgate boys past Whitewater
By DOUG GORMAN
The Northgate Vikings boys' soccer team knew if it kept plugging away, the ball would eventually find its way to the back of the Whitewater Wildcats' goal.
With 11:25 remaining in regulation, it finally happened.
It was part of a doubleheader split. Earlier in the day, the Northgate girls team fell 1-0 to the Lady Wildcats.
The Vikings’ chance was set up when Whitewater pulled Jonathan Cortez down in the box after he dribbled in for what was going to be an easy shot on goal.
“Skalski is just a freshman, but we have a lot of confidence in him,” Northgate head coach Bryan Hicks said. “He is our go-to guy on penalty kicks.”
With the win, Northgate improved its record to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in Area 4-AAAAA competition. Whitewater fell to 2-4-1 and 2-2.
The Wildcats didn’t give up down the stretch. After the Vikings scored, Whitewater had three more shots on goal and a corner kick late in the second half. The Wildcats nearly tied the game with a minute to go but Omar Cortez made a spectacular save.
“Just being able to protect the lead was big,” Hicks said. “We are getting quality chances, it’s just being able to capitalize.”
(To view photos from this game, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports for the Photo Gallery.)
Northgate also put pressure on the Wildcats’ goal early in second half when Jonathan Cortez passed the ball to Cass Waddell, who just shot the ball wide of the Wildcats’ net on a backward bicycle kick with a little less than 29 minutes left.
Northgate kept up the intensity in the middle portion of the second half setting up a corner kick that was turned away by the Whitewater keeper.
Whitewater had a chance to score with about 20 minutes left in the game when Northgate was called for a handball just outside the box. Whitewater’s direct kick was turned away by goalkeeper Omar Cortez, who entered the game in the second half.
Jonathan Cortez had a golden opportunity to score after leaping high in the air on a header, but his attempt slipped just wide.
Northgate had a corner kick less than a minute into the game, but it was unable to turn it into a score on the early opportunity.
Both teams spent the first half trying to gain some offensive momentum, but tough defense by both teams kept the ball out of the goal, leading to a scoreless tie at the break.
The Vikings’ Jonathan Cortez passed the ball to Jesus Fermin midway through the first half for another solid scoring opportunity for the Vikings but the shot was turned away. Trent Harper tried to set up Cortez later in the half, but Whitewater came up with a defensive stop.
Whitewater challenged freshman Cooper Morrison with several chances in the first half.
Eddy Pendia had several chances to put the ball past Morrison in the first 40 minutes, but Morrison turned the shots away.
Morrison collected his best save midway through the first half when he batted a ball that was headed into the top of the net.