• Photo Showcase: Omaha South vs. Millard North
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They may not have the best résumé heading into the state tournament, but Class A No. 3 Omaha South may be the hottest team in the field.
The Packers continued their recent winning ways Thursday night, beating eighth-ranked Millard North 3-0 in the District A-5 final at Collin Stadium, South's home field, to clinch a spot in next week's state tournament at Creighton's Morrison Stadium.
And they did so missing two starters who received red cards in Wednesday's district semifinals.
“You couldn't tell,” Millard North coach Bill Cunningham said. “I sure couldn't tell.”
Just a week ago, the Packers handed previously unbeaten and then-No. 1 Omaha Creighton Prep its only loss to date.
After Thursday's victory, South has now won eight of its past nine. The only loss came to fifth-ranked Millard West, a strong possibility to be the team the Packers would open against at state.
“We've had more players involved late this season,” South coach Joe Maass said. “There's been some seniors that have sacrificed for the team.”
South attacked from the start Thursday, but failed to capitalize on its plethora of first-half opportunities. It didn't take long after the break, though.
Javier Serrano-Tavera sent a ball deep into the offensive area that Abel Alvarado settled near the touch line just to the right of the goal.
Alvarado fired a low burner back toward the face of the goal and past Millard North keeper Brian Talcott to teammate Bryant Bustamante, who pounded it home.
They would add two more later in the half in a span of just more than five minutes. Favian Herrera netted the first on a cross-body shot from the top left corner of the box that got past an outstretched Talcott. The Millard North keeper, a Notre Dame recruit, was then fooled on a knuckler off the foot of Andrew Montes in the 67th minute for the Packers' third goal.
Maass admitted that going into a district final down two starters had him a bit concerned Thursday.
“I didn't really feel really good about tonight,” he said. “But when I saw them playing volleyball in ninth hour today, I could tell they were laid back and ready to go.”
South makes its third straight state tournament appearance and fourth in five seasons. The Packers are still seeking their first state title.
“We've played all the top teams in the state,” Cunningham said before pausing. “They're good.”
Millard North (8-7) ....... 0 0—0
At Omaha South (15-5) ...... 0 3—3
Goals: OS, Bryant Bustamante, Favian Herrera, Andrew Montes.
A-6 game postponed
A strange night at Papillion-La Vista South ended with a postponement in the District A-6 championship game.
Class A No. 9 Papio South scored a goal with one second left in the first half to take a 1-0 lead over No. 10 Papillion-La Vista. The score came on a header off an assist from a flip throw-in.
Just four minutes into the second half, though, lightning halted play as it had for 30 minutes in the first half. After a 45-minute stoppage for the second delay, the match was postponed until 4 p.m. Friday.
“Going into that second half, the guys were playing well,” Papillion-La Vista South coach Dave Lawrence said. “They were pretty pumped. It's just a different game tomorrow.”
Lawrence said it was apparent that lightning was in the distance throughout, but no rain ever fell at the stadium.
Friday's winner will clinch the final state tournament berth in Class A boys. The loser will miss out on state.
Papillion-La Vista South has never reached the boys state soccer tournament. Papillion-La Vista hasn't been since 2004.
Another shut out for Westside
With its 4-0 victory over Kearney in District A-4 girls championship Thursday night, fifth-ranked Omaha Westside recorded its 14th shutout of the season, tied with Omaha Marian and Millard North (ranked first and second, respectively) for tops in Class A.
The Warriors have given up only five goals all season, second to only Marian's three goals allowed.
That stingy defense has been a catalyst for Westside this season. In only one of their three losses — a 2-0 setback to Millard North — did the Warriors lose by more than one goal.
The most impressive part of that may be the way the Warriors are doing it. Keeper Lauren Meyers has been playing the position for only two seasons, and the four defenders in front of her (two of whom are freshmen) are playing somewhat out of position.
“A large part of it does have to do with the defense playing well together so well,” Westside coach Nathan Moseley said. “We obviously improved from last season.”
Moseley's bunch is back at the state tournament after missing out last season.
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