PARKER — Even after Tuesday's season-ending loss to Ponderosa in the second round of the 4A state tournament, Skyline head boys soccer coach Luis Chavez couldn't help but look back positively on how far the Falcons made it in what should have been a rebuilding year.
Having lost in the first round of the state tournament in each of the previous four seasons, the Falcons were fresh off their first home playoff win in school history. But the momentum they have built was not enough to overcome Ponderosa's speed and experience in the second round and the Falcons fell 4-2 on the road.
"We actually played really well and I'm happy with the guys," Chavez said. "We came back and we kept our heads up. At the end, maybe the difference was lack of experience at this level. Before the season, we didn't think we were going to get past .500 and the kids went above and beyond expectations."
The ninth-seeded Falcons (15-2) were riding high in the midst of an outstanding season. The eighth-seeded Ponderosa Mustangs (12-5), however, showed early on that they did not care much about anything the Tri-Valley League champions had accomplished prior to Tuesday night.
Mustangs junior Parker Klein, who leads his team 20 goals this season, deflected teammate Jacob Cade's long service pass over Falcons goalkeeper Gabe Chavez to open the scoring in the 28th minute. Three minutes later, the Falcons were given a prime opportunity to tie the game when Manuel Macias was taken down in the box and drew a penalty kick.
But on the penalty kick, senior Marco Rodriguez's shot hit the cross bar and several rebound attempts proved fruitless.
With 31 seconds left before halftime, Rodriguez redeemed himself. Controlling a long corner kick that carried to the far front corner of the 18-yard box, Rodriguez curved a long shot back across the box and into the far side netting.
In the 56th minute, Rodriguez assisted teammate Jonathan Flores on another long goal that put the Falcons up 2-1. The Falcons' first lead of the game short-lived, however, as Klein scored again in the 59th minute and Cade put the Mustangs back up 3-2 with a 61st-minute goal.
Cade scored a second goal in the 76th minute that clinched the victory for Ponderosa.
"It was a great season," Chavez said. "The passion and the frustration of the could've, would've, should've is there. But next season expectations will be higher and hopefully we can pick up where we left off this year."
Ponderosa 4, Skyline 2
At Sports Authority StadiumSkyline (15-2) 1 1 — 2 Ponderosa (12-5) 1 3 — 4
Goals (assists) — Skyline: Marco Rodriguez (Jonathan Flores), 40th minute; Jonathan Flores (Marco Rodriguez), 56th; Ponderosa: Parker Klein (Jacob Cade), 28th minute; Parker Klein (Thomas Green), 59th; Jacob Cade, 61st; Jacob Cade, 76th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Skyline: Gabe Chavez (80-4-6); Ponderosa: Cole Keith (80-2-3).