In a playoff game filled with intensity and touched by controversy, Kaleb Enriquez stepped forward for his turn in the penalty shootout.
A minute before, Clovis West goalkeeper Angel Joaquin saved a Clovis North attempt, putting Enriquez in position to win the match — if he could convert his penalty kick.
“Before I shot it, there was a ton of adrenaline going through my body,” Enriquez said. “I don’t even know how to explain it. It was so crazy.”
“But the second I let it go and shot it… there was so much relief going through my body.”
Enriquez slotted the ball into the right corner of the net, turned around and saw a flock of Golden Eagles running towards him. The penalty shot gave No. 7 Clovis West a 6-5 win in PK’s over No. 2 Clovis North after a 1-1 tie in overtime. It sent the Golden Eagles flying into the Division-I boys’ soccer semifinal round.
Thursday’s match didn’t come without controversy, however.
After no score in 80 minutes of regulation and first 10 minutes of overtime, Clovis North broke through with a goal from Matt Arakelian in the 91st minute. Even without injured leading scorer Christian Silva, the Broncos held onto a 1-0 lead until the final minute of overtime.
That’s when Clovis North goalkeeper Lucas Tabangcura was called for a handball violation inside the penalty box. The referees ruled that Tabangcura touched the ball with his hands after releasing it and before it touched another player, resulting in an indirect free kick for Clovis West inside the box.
Ethan Rance scored it, sending the game into a 10-minute golden goal period.
“I’ve been coaching for close to 20 years and I can’t remember a time in my career that I’ve seen an indirect kick, or that I’ve had to coach an indirect kick inside the box like that,” said Clovis West head coach Ivan Janssens.
“Ideally, we don’t like to leave any of the decision making in the referees’ hands. In truth, they waved off a goal of ours that was a clear goal, so I think that, even though there was some controversy, I trust the referees’ decisions in both directions. Of course, it’s easy for me to say that having won.”
In the golden goal period, where any goal would have ended the match, Joaquin leaped into the air, fully extended, and saved a Clovis North shot headed for the upper corner of the net. The acrobatic save ensured the match went to penalty kicks.
“I am 100% convinced that Angel Joaquin is the best goalkeeper in the Central Valley,” Janssens said. “I’m not saying that because I know him or because he plays for me. I’m saying that because I’m really critical of goalkeepers.”
Joaquin made three saves in the penalty shootout, the last of which set up Enriquez’s game-winner.
The hero of the day summed it up best.
“It was a very intense and crazy game,” Enriquez said.
In the other quarterfinal, No. 3 Central defeated No. 6 Ridgeview in penalty kicks as well, 3-1, after a scoreless draw in regulation. Central hosts Clovis West on Tuesday, May 25 with a title game spot on the line.