It was physical and intense.
The limited scoring chances, the superb goalie play along with the multiple yellow (and red) cards indicated all throughout regulation that the Division I first-round match between No. 9 Desert Vista and No. 8 Tolleson that 40 minutes of action wasn’t going to settle it.
It came to fruition as the Thunder won 5-4 at Alhambra High on Duncan Ugland’s penalty kick to send Desert Vista into the second round.
After regulation and the two 10 minute overtime periods the game was tied at 1 to send the match into penalty kicks.
The Thunder (13-8-1) connected on four of their five attempts – Lorenz Delaney, Nick Mangialardi, Jonathon Cohen and Ugland – while Tolleson made three as Thunder goalie Tim O’Brien had one stop and the Wolverines’ hit the post on another.
Ugland connected – after he was essentially iced by the referee who conferred with his assistants to make sure Ugland had a chance to win it – and slipped it past Tolleson goalie Andy Oropeza on the right side.
The Thunder swallowed him up as they converged near the goal to celebrate.
Regulation was up and down as the referee struggled to keep up with the physical play, letting some elbows to the head go and seemingly making up for it with much lesser hits, before each team scored on headers.
“It was a close game. We won and will choose to walk away,’’ Thunder coach Mike Rabasca told the AIA365.com. “The game was between two evenly matched (seeded) teams. It’s too bad it has to go to penalty kicks.’’
The Thunder took the initial lead when Mangialardi powered through the defense for a header off an Andrew Sweeney corner kick with 19 minutes and 11 seconds left in regulation.
The Wolverines (17-5-1) got the equalizer when Alexis de la Rosa got one past O’Brien on a throw in from Joel Burgos.
The game would have never gotten to OT if O’Brien didn’t make an incredible one-handed snag of a Wolverine header in the final two minutes.
The Thunder advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals when they travel to No. 1 Hamilton at 2 p.m.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.