By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – As the rain fell and the missed scoring opportunities continued to pile up everyone inside Spartan Stadium on Friday was waiting for a game-winning goal to end the match.
“As a keeper, in a 0-0 game like this, you don’t want to end it in overtime,” Solon junior Eric Weetman said. “It deserves to be done in pks.”
Weetman got his wish then he got Solon a win.
The junior keeper came up with a pair of saves as Class 1A No. 4 Solon edged WAMAC rival Mount Vernon 4-2 in penalty kicks to earn a 1-0 win on Friday night at cold and rainy Spartan Stadium.
The win was the fourth straight for Solon and improved the Spartans to 11-3 on the season while Mount Vernon dropped to 3-7 with its fourth straight loss.
“You will take any win you can get,” Solon coach McMurrin said. “There goalkeeper is a heck of a good keeper and we had opportunities to put some goals away and we didn’t but Eric came up big for us in the shootout.
Scoring opportunities weren’t hard to come by on the rainy and windy evening.
Goals were another story.
Solon controlled possession and created opportunities throughout the 80 minutes of regulation but couldn’t find the net.
The Spartans banged two shots off the posts, came up empty on a breakaway and saw a collection of corner kicks and free kick attempts foiled in the opening half.
“The guys felt great, they thought they were in total control and I agreed with them but the only thing that matters is the scoreboard,” McMurrin said. “You don’t get wins off stats it’s about what’s on the scoreboard.”
Solon amped up the offensive pressuring in the second half.
The best scoring opportunity came in the 72nd minute.
Nicholas Radcliffe hammered a straight away shot toward the goal but Mount Vernon keeper Ian Bootsmiller tipped it over the goal to keep the game scoreless.
Solon had a pair of golden opportunities for a golden goal in the first overtime but Isaac Vang fired a shot high from 20 yards out and Luke Yetley’s round attempt from point blank range was high.
It was only fitting after 100 scoreless minutes that the goalkeepers decided things.
Bootsmiller stopped a Jorel Justus attempt to start the penalty kick shootout but Solon converted on its next four while Weetman came up with a pair of stops.
“You just have to trust your team,” Weetman said. “I knew they were going to score so all I had to do was block one.”
Yetley, Vang, Ben Carr converted on consecutive chances to put Solon up 3-2.
Solon then secured the win when Weetman stopped a Cody Connolly attempt and Radcliffe converted the match-clincher.
“It just makes everything a lot easier when you get that first stop,” Weetman said. “It seems to slow the game down a little bit and you can see where the ball is going better the next time.”
Solon doesn’t have much time to celebrate.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday morning when they host Class 1A top-ranked Regina at 10:30 a.m.
“Going into Regina you don’t want to do a double OT with kicks but that’s the way it goes,” McMurrin said. “We’ll get ready for tomorrow.”