If there was ever a way to draw up a penalty kick session to win a playoff soccer game, the Longmont Trojans came up with a model blueprint on Tuesday night.
And as a result, they are standing alone as the city's only representative left in the Class 4A state soccer tournament.
With textbook goaltending from senior standout Joel Chavez and four consecutive goals potted from the LHS lineup, the Trojans outlasted a tough Durango team 4-1 on penalty kicks at Everly-Montgomery Field.
It was a tough game that got more physical into the extra sessions, but the Trojans embraced the chance to get into a one-on-one situation with Chavez, a senior, manning the net.
"We have a lot of haters out there, but we continue to prove them wrong," Chavez said after stopping two shots clean out of the three he faced on PKs. "Getting in wasn't good enough. We're going all the way."
"They were a great team that pushed us to our limits," head coach Mike DiGiallonardo said. "My keeper, he's fantastic. He came out of the huddle and said, 'I got this, coach' ... when he tells me that, I tend to believe him."
The Trojans already were in uncharted waters getting into the second round of the playoffs, but this LHS team has quietly set critics aside with their play. Tuesday night, against the Demons, they had to fight off a strong attack in the second half on which it appeared Durango carried the play.
DiGiallonardo said his midfield didn't have as much presence as he would have liked, but that he'd "put his defense up against anyone."
Chavez stopped Durango's Elijah Fenton in the second overtime when the Demons' top threat had an open look, and that carried over into the shootout when he made saves on the first two shooters (Fenton wasn't one of them).
Prior to him stepping in, however, Ruben Ordaz gave Longmont a goal, and Luis Meza, Eric Alvurado and Jesus Mora would not be denied.
"I was pretty confident, and I knew I could guess the penalties and block them," Chavez said. "I thought they were nervous and gave it away."
The No. 5 seed Trojans will now play on the road in the quarterfinals, heading up to play No. 4 seed Evergreen on Saturday afternoon.
"To move on to the third round is something special for this school, and to be the only one left out of Longmont ... we're fighting with our hearts," DiGiallonardo said.
Longmont 1, Durango 0
At Everly-Montgomery Field
Longmont wins on penalty kicks 4-1Durango (12-4-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0 Longmont (15-1-1) 0 0 0 0 — 1
Penalty kick goals — Longmont: Ruben Ordaz, Luis Meza, Eric Alvurado, Jesus Mora.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Durango: Seth Vanderryn (110-0-2); Longmont: Joel Chavez (110-0-5).