Red Mountain was an hour late but the Lions got it together in time to upset the 10th-ranked team in the state.
Chase Vanluven knocked his penalty kick just over the reach of Highland goalkeeper Tony Panella in the sixth round of the shootout to lift visiting Red Mountain, the No. 4 seed from the East Valley Region, over the Fiesta Region No. 1 Hawks 1-0 in the first round of the 5A state boys soccer tournament Monday night.
Both teams made four of their first five shots — each goalkeeper making saves on one attempt. But Hawks striker Curtis Flournoy aimed his shot for the left corner of the goal and Lions goalkeeper Ryan Vickery just knocked it wide, setting up Vanluven’s game winner.
Red Mountain advances to Wednesday’s second round against Desert Mountain.
"We felt if it was 0-0 at the end of the game we would win it because we have the goalkeeper," said Lions coach Tim Kipp. "They have a good goalkeeper too, but Ryan Vickery is one of the best in the state."
The Lions (9-9-1) got a late start because no one told them that the playoff match had been scheduled at 5 p.m. rather than 6 p.m. as most of the first-round games were set. The Highland girls team was scheduled to play at 7 p.m. in a first-round match against Marana Mountain View.
"I looked at the AIA bracket mailed to me earlier in the year," said Kipp. "Nobody at our school had mentioned (the change) to me. Luckily, we got here just at game time."
The team arrived just after 5 p.m. and was given about 15 minutes to warm up. The game began 25 minutes behind schedule. For the first 40 minutes, you could tell Red Mountain was behind. "We were barely stretched out by the time we played," Kipp said. "It took us a half to get going." But just two minutes into the second half, the Lions made their mark.
Beto Ayala fired a rebound from 22 yards out past Panella to give Red Mountain a 1-0 lead.
Highland (9-7-2), which upset formerly second-ranked Gilbert in the Fiesta Region final last week, had dominated the first half but had nothing to show for it. The Hawks outshot Red Mountain and kept possession. Panella only touched the ball twice in the first 10 minutes and didn’t have to make a legitimate save until the 19th minute.
But the Hawks failed to convert on most of their chances. Flournoy outdueled Lions defender Kevin Andrews on the wing but only got a few good opportunities.
Twice Highland had pointblank shots go awry until Kim Andre Naess made a crossing pass to Mike Texeira, whose sliding shot caught Vickery out of position in the 53rd minute.