Danville wins district title No. 10 in thrilling fashion over Boyle County

Published 10:36 pm Saturday, October 14, 2017

STANFORD — Angel Alaves said he wasn’t going to go home with a second-place trophy.

He didn’t.

Alaves scored the golden goal for Danville in the 45th District championship as the Admirals topped Boyle County 3-2 in overtime.

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“I didn’t expect me to get the final goal,” Alaves said. “But before the game restarted for overtime, I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to finish second today. I’m not going home second today.’

“When I scored that, I didn’t think that was actually real. I thought I was living a dream.”

The game had everything you’d expect from a district championship game between two rivals.

“It was a great game,” Danville head coach Brent Beauman said. “It was kind of nerve-wracking, but that’s what it should be. Two good teams battling it out for something that matters. I think our guys stepped up and played hard. They stayed in it.”

For 65 minutes, no one scored.  

Then the game busted wide open.

It should be said that the first half wasn’t without opportunity — both teams had chances and the game was a thrilling back-and-forth contest even before goals were scored. Goalkeepers Ethan James of Boyle and Keeton Burnside of Danville were called upon to make save after save, including some one-on-one chances.

Boyle County’s Sergio Mercado had a goal-line clearance just before halftime to keep the game scoreless.

“I felt like we were struggling a bit,” Boyle County head coach Cris McMann said. “We weren’t able to possess the ball like we wanted to. I don’t think it was really a pretty soccer game, but it was a hard-fought soccer game. It usually is when we’re playing Danville.”

The second half got started similar to the first — some good opportunities on both sides, but no goals.

But then, the deadlock was broken. Ryan Henry broke loose on a breakaway and scored for Boyle, 14 minutes remaining in the game.

Nik Ruby was quick to follow, rifling a shot from outside the box. The ball deflected off of a Danville defender and looped over Burnside in the net to put the Rebels ahead 2-1.

Not 45 seconds later, Saif Siddiqui scored after an assist from Ethan Redmond to put Danville on the board.

Siddiqui scored again with 12 minutes left in the second half, this time assisted by Gabe Cisneros.

“All season, usually we go up, then we go down. They’ve always battled through to the end and found a way to win,” Beauman said. “That’s what they did tonight. I’m super proud of them, they worked extremely hard and they deserved a win.”

Siddiqui said the team just never stopped believing.

“Never give up. That’s one thing that coach always teaches us, never give up,” Siddiqui said. “We didn’t give up. We did that and we came out on top.”

Both of Siddiqui’s goals were opportunistic — he was the first to pounce on both balls played into the box, and he slid it past James for two goals.

“I was just trying to place it in the side net, place it where the goalie’s not,” Siddiqui said. “That’s what we’ve been practicing a  lot, those opportunities and executing those opportunities.”

Beauman said the goals were “effort goals.”

“It’s effort. Follow your shot and just be ready,” the coach said. “You try to manipulate that and have that in practice but it’s nothing like the real game. It takes competitors and heads up play to be ready to strike when your opportunity is there. You’ve got to jump on it.”

The game was without a goal for more than an hour of game time, and in four minutes, the score was 2-2.

“We told the guys to keep playing and to keep doing what they were doing,” McMann said. “I think you need to give a lot of credit to the Danville guys, you go down two goals in the district final in the second half, it’s pretty easy to put your head down. And they didn’t, they kept battling. We kept battling too, neither one of these teams was going to give up.”

Mercado’s heroics prevented a Siddiqui hat trick and sent the game into overtime.

“(Ethan James) made some fantastic saves,” McMann said. “Sergio made a fantastic save. Without Ethan, I don’t think the game would’ve been as close.”

But it was Siddiqui who stayed involved in overtime. Just 90 seconds into overtime, he played Alaves into the box and Alaves scored to give Danville its 10th district title.

“(Siddiqui) is an amazing player, he really is,” Alaves said. “He laid me off a nice pass to win the game, and without him we’d probably be down and lost the game.”

Beauman said it was his team’s relentless attitude — something that they’ve shown multiple times through the regular season — that helped them score three straight goals to win.

“It’s happened quite a bit this year,” he said. “They don’t show a ton of emotion, so it was good for them to say, ‘alright, let’s go. We’ve got stuff to do.’ And they just stepped up and kept playing, kept fighting till the final whistle.”

Both Boyle County and Danville will play in the 12th Region tournament this week in Somerset.

“I think our goals are to come in and execute as well as we can and just win the games that we should win,” Siddiqui said. “We have potential to win every game.”

McMann said it’ll take a full 80 minutes — and sometimes more — for his team to make a run in the region tournament.

“We want to win it,” McMann said. “We’ve just got to be ready to play hard for the full 80 minutes from here on out. That’s what it is going to take. You can’t take plays off, you can’t relax. The other team will get you. You’ve got to stay focused and work hard the whole time.”