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High school soccer: Unranked teams turn district brackets on their heads

High school soccer: Unranked teams turn district brackets on their heads

Take a look at the All-Nebraska soccer teams through the years

Well, that didn’t take long.

A postseason that promised chaos got it after the first match, and then continuously throughout the opening day of district tournaments across the state.

Most notable among the shockwaves was a pair of unranked teams — one boys, one girls — that turned brackets on their heads.

An overtime goal from Juan Ixquiactap lifted the unranked Columbus boys to a 1-0 overtime win over Class A No. 4 Omaha Creighton Prep in the District A-4 tournament.

“They were the better team today; we just caught some breaks,” Discoverers coach John Arlt said. “But we also showed some maturity today. We were really being outplayed early on. We just hung on and fought.”

The diminutive Ixquiactap got his head on a crossed ball, putting it toward goal and off the fingertips of the keeper for the match-winner.

It was the first victory over Prep in program history for the Discoverers, who opened the season 1-7 and have now won seven straight.

“They’ve hung tough, and now they’re getting the reward for it,” Arlt said.

His team also beat Kearney for the first time in 15 years earlier in the week. Columbus will travel to Grand Island on Tuesday for a district championship match with a spot in the state tournament on the line.

The loss is not necessarily the end of the season for Prep. The Junior Jays entered the day fourth in the wild-card points, and would likely be in line for the class’s lone free pass into the state tournament, provided all three teams in front of them win district titles.

The Columbus upset was part of a wild day on the boys side. Two other winners on Saturday — Lincoln Southeast and Omaha Burke — needed shootouts to prevail.

Seventh-ranked Millard West pulled a rabbit out of its hat, striking for two goals in the final three minutes of a 2-1 comeback win over Papillion-La Vista.

And the drama wasn’t exclusive to the boys.

On the girls side it was unranked Lincoln High springing the upset with a shootout win over Class A No. 5 Papillion-La Vista in the A-7 semifinals Saturday morning.

It pushes the Links (7-9) into a district championship match next week against Kearney, a 3-0 winner over Bellevue West in the field’s other opener.

“Everything was clicking for us,” Lincoln High coach Shelly Fargo said.

A scoreless regulation and two empty overtimes led to a shootout that Links keeper MacKenzie Smith had her fingerprints all over.

The senior made saves in the second and fifth rounds, while teammates Makinley Thomas, Emeri Kinnison, Lesli Donis and Taylor Kruse all converted their tries.

Fargo credited her back line with limiting opportunities for Papio.

“Our defense just really shut them down,” she said. “Our midfield did a great job helping back, even our forwards did a good job of helping back. We played as a team and just got it done.”

A win over Kearney would put the Links in the state tournament for only the third time in school history, and first time since 1999. The Bearcats won 3-0 when the teams met in the regular-season finale for both on Tuesday.

“We’re looking to get that one back,” Fargo said.

Columbus (8-7)................................0 0 1 0—1

At Omaha Creighton Prep (12-5)....0 0 0 0—0

GOALS: C, Juan Ixquiactap.

Lincoln High (7-9)....................0 0 0 0 1—1

At Papillion-La Vista (10-7).....0 0 0 0 0—0

GOALS: None. Lincoln High wins shootout 4-3.

Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska Prep Zone

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Nick covers high school soccer, wrestling and other sports for The World-Herald.

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