Photo Showcase: Nebraska state soccer Thursday
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Class A's new kid on the block sent a big message Thursday, knocking out the top-ranked team in the state.
And the new kid sure didn't look like a tournament rookie in doing so.
Class A No. 6 Papillion-La Vista South, playing in the school's first state tournament game, erupted for three goals in a span of 17 minutes in the first half, then held on for a 3-2 win over previously unbeaten and top-seeded Grand Island in the first round of the boys state soccer tournament at Creighton's Morrison Stadium.
The sixth-seeded Titans advance to Saturday's semifinal against seventh seed Omaha Westside, the fourth meeting of the season between the teams.
“It's extremely special for us,” Papio South coach Dave Lawrence said. “We've been fighting for this for a long time. We're excited to be there.”
Grand Island started the match in typical fashion. Lucas Venegas took a ball on the right side and slipped one past Titan keeper Cullen Fisch 2:51 in.
“That first goal kind of scared me,” Lawrence said, after admitting his team might have been a little too loose coming in.
But the rest of the half belonged to Papio South. Nathan Huyser got his team's first score, firing a shot past Grand Island keeper Danny Gamboa in the 20th minute.
Crist Lopez added another Titan goal 8½ minutes later, placing the ball over Gamboa's head. Tyler Basch scored a third goal just over eight minutes later, getting a head on a long flip throw-in from Brandon Tauzin.
Venegas scored a second goal for Grand Island with two minutes to play — his 26th of the season — but the Islanders couldn't muster another charge in the closing minutes.
“You've got to give a lot of credit to Papillion,” Grand Island coach Jeremy Jensen said. “They really played well. We dug ourselves too big of a hole. They beat us in the first half, and it was enough.”
Lawrence said his team was excited for the challenge of playing the top team in the state.
“They don't back down from anything,” he said.
Papillion-La Vista South (15-6) ..... 3 0—3
Grand Island (18-1) ..... 1 1—2
Goals: PLVS, Nathan Huyser, Crist Lopez, Tyler Basch. GI, Lucas Venegas 2.
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