Warm, sunny weather and a large crowd for both teams provided the ideal backdrop for a thrilling substate final between the Knoxville and Pella boys soccer teams. Defense was the name of the game for both sides, as neither team could score through two periods of regulation or the two additional ten-minute, “golden goal” overtime periods – bringing on a tense shoot-out to decide the match.
The Panthers scored on their first penalty kick to go up 1-0, while Pella was stonewalled in its first two attempts. The Pella keeper would keep Knoxville’s second and third shots out of the goal, while the Little Dutch would get consecutive goals on from their third and fourth kickers. Those goals, combined with another goal from Knoxville had the shootout tied at 2-2 going down to each team’s final kicker.
The Panthers held the first kick, and were able to put one more goal in the back of the net to put the pressure on Pella for the final shot. The potential game-tying attempt for the Little Dutch was just barely wide to the left of the goal, and Knoxville held on to win a 3-2 shoot-out and earn a trip to the state tournament.
The Panthers have been granted the No. 8 seed in the tournament, and will face No. 1 seed Dubuque Wahlert on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines. Fellow Little Hawkeye Conference team, Norwalk, is the No. 7 seed in the tournament.