OMAHA - The dream of bringing a first-ever state soccer championship to Columbus High School will have to wait a bit longer.
Monday in Omaha at Morrison Stadium, in just the second-ever state title match for Columbus boys soccer, the Discoverers came up short after 80 minutes then 20 more of overtime solved nothing in a scoreless contest for the boys Class B crown between Columbus and Omaha Skutt.
When the match moved to the shootout, Skutt keeper Zach Weis made a save in the second round of kicks and then teammate Patrick Hoody sealed it with a goal in the fifth.
Skutt, which led off the PK showdown with a goal by Ben Bausback, went a perfect 5 for 5 with goals by Bausback, Hoody, Andrew Davidson, John Meyers and Caleb Vos.
Ivan Rios-Lopez scored for Columbus followed by a save on a shot from Antonio Jimenez, goal by Kevin Palma-Lopez and goal by Juan Rodriguez.
Up 4-3 and needing either one more goal or save to end it, Hoody slid a shot to the left while Columbus goalie Alex Morales dove to the right.
It bounced through to the netting, giving Skutt a sixth boys state soccer championship in school history in a 0-0 (5-3) final score. For Columbus, it's a second runner-up soccer trophy following an overtime loss in the 2009 title match.
It also extends a drought for Columbus team sports back to 1972 since the Discoverer boys won a basketball championship.
"They deserved to win tonight. We did not play maybe our 'A' game because they took it away from us. I'm not a huge stats guy, but we were defending a lot tonight instead of attacking," coach John Arlt said. "So when we got late in the game, I thought we were playing for kicks."
It was the third time this season Columbus had been forced to a shootout. The Discoverers won the first match of the year on penalties against Norfolk and then won a fifth match in a row during a seven-match win streak with a penalty shootout victory at Lincoln North Star.
Columbus had made all of its penalty attempts up until Monday when Weis guessed correctly to his right and stuffed Jimenez's shot. Morales had his fingertips on Davidson's shot in the second round and put most of a full palm on Vos' attempt but never quite had enough to keep those shots out.
"If they gave an MVP for the tournament, had we won, it should have been (Morales)," Arlt said. "He was throwing his body all over the place."
Skutt outshot Columbus 11-6 and 4-2 in shots on goal. It was a mostly even contest through the first 60 minutes before Skutt began dictating flow over the final quarter of the night.
Although Columbus had two shots on goal and six total, none were particularly threatening.
Skutt had two prime chances, one on a failed clearance in the second half and another on a penalty kick in the second half, but couldn't crack the Columbus defense.
Morales eventually dove on the bad clearance sitting at the left post. Hoody sailed his PK over the crossbar in the 64th minute.
Once the match reached overtime, Arlt moved 23-goal scorer and offensive star Rios-Lopez back to the back line in an attempt to play for penalty kicks. That decision held off Skutt for the extra 20 minutes and was likely the right decision based on how the game was turning in the Skyhawks' favor.
"It was struck well. The keeper just made a good save," Arlt said of missing in the shootout.
"In my mind, I was thinking, 'I don't think we can score.' Their back line was just shutting us down, so I figured we'd play for kicks.
Arlt said the difficulty in attacking Skutt, which had only allowed five shots on goal in its previous two state tournament matches and only allowed 14 goals all year, was finding then maintaining possession.
"Then once we did (get possession), I think we played a little panicked," he said. "We didn't play real relaxed the first half. We played better the second half, kind of got our feet, kind of got a groove going, but they're really solid back there."
The loss meant the final match in a Discoverer career for Morales, Jimenez, Vasco Citta, Victor Salazar, Jorge Moncibais, Avery McMeekin, Jesus Baro and Jose Gallardo.
"Right now they're a bit disappointed. But I think when they look back on their season, they'll be pretty happy with it," Arlt said. "I know I will be."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.