High School Sports

Dunbar reaches state soccer semis with shootout win

Dunbar celebrated after beating Bowling Green 3-2 on penalty kicks at Henry Clay. The Bulldogs will face Henderson County in the state semifinals Thursday night.
Dunbar celebrated after beating Bowling Green 3-2 on penalty kicks at Henry Clay. The Bulldogs will face Henderson County in the state semifinals Thursday night. Lexington Herald-Leader

Dunbar is going to the Final Four of the boys' State Soccer Tournament.

Fernando Ortiz made a pair of diving shootout saves Saturday night as the second-ranked Bulldogs edged No. 4 Bowling Green 3-2 at Henry Clay.

Dunbar (24-3), which never led until going to penalty kicks, will face Henderson County in Thursday night's semifinals at Dunbar.

"The goal is to keep it out," Ortiz said of his shootout thought process. "One block is all I need, and for my team to score every shot they do. But if they don't, I'm always there for that backup."

Tied at 2 through 80 minutes of regulation and a pair of five-minute overtimes, Dunbar outscored the Purples 3-1 in the shootout.

Riley Calhoon, whose goal with 17:24 left in regulation tied the match, started the shootout with a tally.

"Just ignore everything except yourself and the goal," Calhoon said. "Focus on that one shot."

Ortiz then made a diving save on Kevin May's shot.

In the second round of the best-of-five, Purples goalkeeper Brandon Pruitt knocked Guillermo Clemente's shot up and over the goal.

Bowling Green's David Walker then tied matters at 1.

Matthew Spanyer put Dunbar up in the third round, and Ortiz punched away Riley Phelps' rising blast.

"It's awesome. I love it!" Ortiz said. "I had to do what I had to do to get it out."

When Shaquille Guillermo led off the fourth round with a Dunbar goal, that meant Bowling Green's Ben Mujic had to convert in order to keep things going.

He ripped a shot off the crossbar.

"It was a great game. Bowling Green is a fantastic team. ... We were able to respond," Dunbar Coach Todd Bretz said. "It's a difficult way to end a game, but two evenly matched teams."

Bowling Green, which had outscored foes 134-11, had a 19-match winning streak snapped and finished at 21-3.

Phelps opened the scoring 25:10 into the match.

Dunbar forged a 1-1 halftime tie, though, scoring off a set play with 7:36 left.

Davoud Saghaian got a head on Calhoon's corner kick. Nathan Jones cleaned up the rebound amidst goal-mouth traffic.

May gave Bowling Green a 2-1 second-half lead, slamming home a rebound off a free kick at 44:44.

"We've been in a lot of tight games throughout the year," Bretz said. "We knew we were in a situation we had to respond. We've had to do it before, so we knew we could do it again."

With less than 20 minutes left, Calhoon fell in pain, having taken a cleat to his shin.

While on all fours, he made one of the more unusual plays of the season, heading a knee-high ball to a teammate.

Moments later, he was on his feet to take a free kick from about 45 yards out. His high-arcing shot glanced off Pruitt's hands and into the goal, knotting the score with 17:24 left.

"It wasn't a shot. I'm going to be honest," Calhoon said. "But just putting it on frame, see what they can do. ... They've got a huge goalie, so it's hard to get it over him. Luck was on our side."

Dunbar 3, Bowling Green 2 (PK)

Goals—BG: Riley Phelps, Kevin May. D: Nathan Jones, Riley Calhoon. Goalkeepers—BG: Brandon Pruitt; D: Fernando Ortiz.

Records: Bowling Green 21-3; Dunbar 24-3.

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