The old saying is that if you watch baseball long enough, you'll see something you've never seen before.
After six days of state soccer, I can tell you that the statement rings true on the pitch as well.
After a season in which it snowed during districts and neared 100 degrees at state, nothing should be surprising.
But there were plenty of unusual moments during the tournament:
>> Skutt boys keeper Michael Kluver and his change from goalie to field player, back to goalie and then back to the field.
All within about 15 minutes.
The Creighton recruit is probably the state's best keeper, but SkyHawks coach Rob Meyers told me on Sunday that Kluver might play in the field on Monday night.
Turns out he wasn't bluffing.
Late in the match, with Skutt trailing, Kluver raced to the sideline to change his jersey and socks to play the field. After the SkyHawks got the equalizer, he sprinted to the bench, changed again, checked back in and raced back to the net.
Almost immediately after South Sioux City scored what would be the game-winner, Kluver was in a dead sprint to the flag to change jerseys and re-enter the game as a forward.
The Gatorade player of the year will probably make his mark at CU as a keeper, but a role with the ball at his feet isn't a bad fallback plan.
>> The same game produced the first red card for a keeper that I've ever witnessed. South Sioux City's Esteban Curiel was ejected for a slide tackle near the edge of the box, forcing the Cardinals to play a man down — and without their top keeper — for a majority of their win over Skutt.
>> The bizarre didn't end on Monday night. Before Tuesday's girls matches, officials made the decision — the correct decision — to have water breaks at the midway point of each half because of the day's oppressive heat.
For a sport with a constantly running clock and no timeouts, it was a little strange to see the stoppages.
>> During the Class B girls final, a shot by a Skutt player hit the right post, rolled along the goal line, hit the left post and bounced out.
I asked SkyHawk girls coach John Carlson, who has been around the game for 30 or so years, if he had ever seen that.
“You couldn't do that if you stood there and tried 100 times,” he said.
>> A packed Morrison Stadium on Monday night was quite the scene. Officials estimated the crowd to be 8,200, the most to ever watch a soccer game in Nebraska.
We're going to write more next week about where that stacks up with other states, but the turnout shows what sort of interest and momentum the sport is gaining here.
For the record, Monday's Omaha Creighton Prep-Omaha South match drew almost 1,000 more fans than the Class A state football championship.
Classy post-match moments
While there was plenty of the weird, wild and downright wacky in downtown Omaha, there were a couple of pretty cool moments and images that were just as lasting.
After South had completed its win over Prep, Packer players were joined on the field by Class B champion South Sioux City.
The two teams posed for pictures together. Two groups made up primarily of Latino players. Two state championship trophies — the first for each program. One team dressed in red with white lettering, the other in white with red lettering.
That's a picture that may get dug out 20 years from now if those two programs continue on their respective paths of success.
The other moment that stuck out to me followed the Class A girls championship match.
A young Millard West team had just beaten a veteran Millard North bunch for the title. After the Mustangs received their runner-up trophy and medals, senior Rachel Brennan called a couple of teammates that began walking away back and the entire Millard North team stuck around to congratulate the Wildcats.
Team gives South pride
When I looked at Omaha.com on Tuesday and saw the picture of South's Favian Herrera being mobbed by friends and classmates after South's victory, I had a flashback to The World-Herald picture that ran in March, the day after Omaha Central's boys basketball title.
Just as Akoy Agau — who was in the picture being mobbed by Central students — and his teammates are a source of pride at their school, so is the soccer team at South.
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