Julie Carrington needed a moment.
Allyson Rily had just completed Pahrump Valley’s perfect five-shot offensive effort in the penalty-kick shootout to beat Sunrise Mountain in a Class 3A Southern Region girls soccer semifinal at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex on Thursday.
With the five makes, Hannah McElheny’s first-shot save of America Zacarias’ try held up after the teams played 110 minutes of regulation and overtime to a 2-2 tie.
And Pahrump’s coach couldn’t stop the tears.
“I need to get it together,” Carrington said after her team earned a trip to state and a date on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Western for the region title.
A few moments later, still gushing about her team’s effort and accomplishments this season as Pahrump earned its second straight trip to the state tournament, Carrington could relay her thoughts.
“This was a whole redemptive game for us,” said Carrington, whose team lost to Sunrise Mountain on a last-minute goal in the region championship a year ago. “We lost half our team as seniors after last season. Most of my team this year is sophomores, and we just kept building them up. And they have kept doing these amazing stinking things.”
On Thursday, the Trojans saw an aggressive Miners team erase a 1-0 first-half deficit with goals from Zacarias and Alexandra Trinidad in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
It stayed that way until the final 10 minutes of regulation. But the Trojans managed to stay alive when senior Halie Souza gathered the ball after a scrum off a corner kick attempt and directed it back into the net to tie the game at 2-2.
Souza had both Pahrump goals in regulation.
Her first, in the seventh minute, came after she swiped the ball as Sunrise Mountain tried to clear it. From 25 yards away, she let go a line-drive shot that found the net between the keeper and the crossbar for an early 1-0 lead. After that moment, the Miners (10-6) ramped up the pressure.
But despite several good chances, McElheny stood firm and kept Sunrise Mountain out of the net over the first 40 minutes. She couldn’t keep it up when the Miners sustained the pressure after halftime.
Sunrise Mountain tied it, then took the lead when Trinidad’s shot from the right side slipped through the outstretched arms of McElheny and beyond the goal line for a 2-1 lead.
“Hannah is a brand-new goalkeeper,” Carrington said. “But she’s got that natural ability. I wanted to get balls in her hands, so I kept pounding her and pounding her, and she hurt her hand last week.”
The injury wasn’t so bad that McElheny couldn’t play, however. And she got her own brand of redemption for the ball that squirted through her fingers about 45 minutes later.
“I was really nervous at first,” McElheny said. “But I just had faith in my team. We just wanted that so bad.”
After Souza tied it, the teams played two scoreless 15-minute overtimes, though each had its opportunities to end it with a sudden death goal and couldn’t. That took the game to the shootout.
Zacarias was the first shooter for either team. The whistle blew, and Zacarias tried to beat McElheny with a chest-high shot to the right post.
“It looked like her eyes were up and looking in the opposite direction,” McElheny said. “And I just knew where it was going. I got a gut feeling and took it.”
McElheny slid right, got both hands up in front of her body, and deflected the ball away for the save. It was the only one of the 10 shots that didn’t get into the net during the shootout.
But it was the one that allowed the tears to start flowing.
Western 4, Virgin Valley 3 — The Warriors (14-4) advanced to the Southern Region championship game, holding off Rainee Brito and the Bulldogs (11-7-1).
Brito scored a hat trick for the second consecutive night for Virgin Valley, but unlike Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over Valley, the three goals were not enough.
Angelica Sanchez scored twice in the second half and assisted on the eventual game-winner from Caro Acosta to help Western break away from a 1-1 tie at the half. Aileen Arroyo also scored for the Warriors.