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‘Cardiac Kids’ come through with shootout win; Bearcats to advance to regional final

Celebrating their 3-2 overtime victory over El Paso Bowie, the Aledo Bearcats mob senior Mickey Maloney after the defender scored the match-clinching goal in the shootout Friday afternoon in a regional semifinal match at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls. The Bearcats will play for the regional championship at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Photos by Tony Eierdam

Aledo senior goalkeeper Konrad Garbowski laid out for two diving saves in the overtime shootout session and senior Mickey Maloney scored the match-clinching goal to give the Bearcats a 3-2 win (4-1 in shootout) over the El Paso Bowie Bears Friday afternoon in a boys’ Class 5A regional semifinal match at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls

The Bearcats will advance to the regional final and play El Paso Del Valle at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium. The winner of the regional final advances to the Class 5A state tournament in Georgetown.

Max Owens led off in the shootout and scored with a blast to the lower-right corner of the Bowie goal. However, Bowie answered on its first penalty kick to tie the shootout, 1-1.

Aledo’s second kicker, Alfredo De Casas, went the other direction, scoring after firing a shot to the lower-left corner as AHS led 2-1.

On Bowie’s second kick, Garbowski laid out with his body parallel to the ground and slapped the ball away as AHS maintained its 2-1 shootout lead.

The Bearcats took a 3-1 lead in the shootout when Brandon Wrinkle sent a shot just under the cross bar in the middle.

On its third shootout attempt, Bowie fell victim of the athletic Aledo goalkeeper again. Garbowski again stopped the shot with a diving save, meaning the ‘Cats were only one goal away from advancing to the regional final.

Maloney tucked a shot just under the cross bar for the goal that ended the match to send the Bearcats to the regional championship match for the first time since 2005.

It was the fourth consecutive one-goal playoff win for the Bearcats, whose coach, Derek Vierling, has dubbed the team the “Cardiac Kids” due to the one-goal wins.

In the second half, Aledo took a 2-1 lead with 21:35 left to play. Simon Shulz sent a crossing pass to the middle about 15 yards in front of the net where Connor Steele quickly got off a shot that was blocked, but the ball deflected back to Steele who found the back of the net from 12 yards out with the rebound.

It appeared Aledo would keep Bowie off the board in the second half. But with 1:25 left to play, Bears forward Sergio Enrique took a pass in the middle and fired a quick shot from eight yards that found the back of the net to tie the score, 2-2, which it remained after regulation to force overtime and the exciting finish.

There was no scoring in either of the two 10-minute overtime sessions.

The Bearcats struck first in the opening half.

Aledo almost scored five minutes into the match when forward Kyle Maurer got free on the right side, but his shot from 15 yards caromed off the goal post.

After Aledo goalkeeper Konrad Garbowski made a couple of diving saves, the Bearcats applied more pressure in Bowie’s defensive end.

Lennart Barron had a throw in on the right side, and his throw in front of the net was headed into the goal by Micco Little as the Bearcats took a 1-0 lead with 23:37 remaining in the half.

However, five minutes later, the Bears, who had applied pressure in front of the Aledo goal for a full two minutes, finally got on the board with a goal from inside the box to tie the match, 1-1, where it remained at the half.

Aledo defender Micco Little (4) scores on a header during the first half of the Bearcats’ 3-2 overtime win over El Paso Bowie Friday afternoon in a boys’ Class 5A regional semifinal match at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls.

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