• Photo Showcase: Nebraska state soccer, May 10
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Omaha Westside lost the first two minutes Thursday afternoon.
After that, it was pretty much all Warriors.
Class A No. 5 Westside fell behind early, but scored three second-half goals in a 3-1 win over fourth-ranked Kearney in the first round of the boys state soccer tournament.
It pushes Westside into Saturday's semifinals against Papillion-La Vista South, an upset winner over top-ranked Grand Island.
“It's anyone's tournament,” Warriors coach John Brian said after his team's win. “We're just happy to be here.”
In the initial stages Thursday, it looked like Kearney might be the team advancing. The Bearcats' Nate Mishou got his team on the board just 1:54 in on a spin-and-fire shot in the box.
It wasn't long after, though, that Westside starting finding opportunities. The Warriors finished the half without a goal, but kept the pressure on throughout the first 40 minutes.
“I didn't feel bad at halftime,” Brian said. “We were really calm at halftime.”
That persistence paid off early and often in the second half. Riley Harberg started it with a tapper in close off of a corner kick that tied the match less than 10 minutes after halftime.
Ali Sodal's low rocket from 18 yards out that went far post gave Westside the lead nine minutes later, and Daniel Hamilton's rebound putback put the game away with less than 10 minutes to go.
“Westside was just relentless with their attack,” Kearney coach Scott Steinbrook said. “I think what you saw was Westside just cranking it up a notch.”
Brian said his team adjusted to Morrison Stadium's wide field.
“You started to see us play the width better,” Brian said. “And when we did that, we had some success. We also didn't let Kearney get into their system. We have decent speed up top and technical ability to go with it.”
Omaha Westside (14-6) ........................ 0 3—3
Kearney (17-2) ......................................... 1 0—1
Goals: OW, Riley Harberg, Ali Sodal, Daniel Hamiton; K, Justin Baird.
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