Penalty kicks in a shootout are necessary evils in high school soccer. No matter the outcome the loser is going to feel cheated while the winner will feel like it escaped certain death.
Tuesday in the Section 8A boys semifinal at the Bemidji middle school field the Lumberjacks experienced the pangs of a shootout loss as St. Cloud Cathedral outscored BHS 3-0 in the penalty kicks to nip the Jacks 3-2.
Each team scored twice in regulation and neither could find the net in the two 10-minute overtimes.
With the scored tied 2-2 following the extra sessions, the shootout would serve as the tiebreaker.
"I figured we would make all five of our shots in the shootout," Bemidji coach Rick Toward said. "I never thought we would miss our first three."
Lumberjack Nick Gorick was the first player to take a penalty kick and his attempt beat Crusader goalkeeper Phil Ruegemer but clanked off the cross bar.
Nick Schmit of St. Cloud Cathedral fared better on his attempt as his shot glanced off the hands of a diving Connor McNallan who was tending the BHS goal, bounced off the left post and into the net.
Ian Sweeney Smith also was bitten by back luck on Bemidji's second shot as his effort glanced off the left post and rebounded straight back to the crease.
Charlie Schuweller tried the same shot as Sweeney Smith and his found a seam between McNallan and the pipe to give the Crusaders a 2-0 edge.
Isak Sommer all but had to score to keep Bemidji's hopes alive and he tried to fool Ruegemer with a shot to the middle of the net. The goalie didn't buy the ruse, however, and he stood his ground to make the save.
When Joshua Robak beat McNallan in the upper left corner with his penalty kick the visitors officially won the section semifinal.
Also scheduled to attempt the shootout kicks for the Jacks were Patrick Trummer and Kyle Fodness but the outcome was decided before they had a chance to step to the line.
"I'm very proud of the kids," Toward said. "They did everything we asked and played their best game of the season in their last game of the season."
St. Cloud Cathedral took a 1-0 lead seven minutes into the action when Charlie Schuweiler drove to the net outside the right post and converted a crossing feed from Myles Hagen.
The Lumberjacks notched the tying tally with nine minutes remaining in the half as Zach Jones sent a free kick from 45 yards out toward the net and, after the ball deflected off the traffic and bounced off the right pipe, Isak Sommer was in position to score on the rebound.
In the second half the Crusaders took a 2-1 lead with 32:44 to play when Jason Schoenberg connected from close range but, once again, BHS battled back and tied the game with 9:07 to play in regulation. Sommer started the play with a perfect corner kick from the left side which curved toward the crease and deflected off Kyle Fodness and past Ruegemer.
"We never gave up. We responded well when we were behind," Toward said. "In a game like this every mistake is magnified and both teams capitalized on their opponent's mistakes."
The 2-2 deadlock continued through the rest of regulation and the two overtime sessions.
"There is nothing you can say that will take the sting away from this loss," Toward said. "Losing this way, in a shootout, is a lousy way to end the year and I especially feel for our eight seniors.
"But we played our best game in the last game of the year and from that standpoint this is a great way to end the season."
St. Cl. Cathedral 1 1 0 0 1 - 3
Bemidji 1 1 0 0 0 - 2
(Bemidji loses shootout 3-0)
SCC-Schuweller (Hagen), 7:30
B-Sommer (Jones) 30:52
SCC-Schoenberg (Mareck) 47:16
B-Fodness (Sommer) 70:53
B-Gorck, miss (off crossbar)
B-Sweeney Smith, miss (hit post)
B-Sommer, miss (save)
Ruegeemer (SCC) 5 1 2 - 8
McNallan (B0 4 6 4 - 14