Season Ends in Heartbreak Shoot-Out

Brittany Robinson

One single goal. That was all it came down to in the intense shootout at the Rider Raider’s Region I-4A sectional round playoff game against Denton Guyer. The Raider’s 1-0 shootout loss was a devastating way to end their outstanding season. Rider had control of the game and out worked the Wildcats, but simply did not finish out on the handful of opportunities they had throughout the game.

“We peaked at just the right time of the season, and everything was looking good for a good run to state,” junior Chase Roberts said. “That’s why the loss was so disappointing.”

There is much to be said of the Raider’s defense, and holding a team to no goals in a hundred minutes of soccer reflects well of Andrew Goldstein, Tyler Howard, Nick Oechsner and Patrick Barker. The solid senior defense held Guyer to a scoreless game up until the time of the shootout. Senior Dylan Hillard also had an impressive four saves in the goal, making big contributions to the game.

Come time for the shootout sophomore Drake Szczepinski took his place in the goal, and allowed Guyer to score on their first two attempts during the shootout. Although senior Josh Findlay missed the Raider’s first attempt, Howard and Oechsner replied by each getting a goal past Guyer’s Brewer. Guyer’s next two rounds came unanswered as Szczepinski came up with two stops to keep it tied at two. Going into the fourth round tied after Harrison Howard’s goal was denied, Guyer came up with a goal in the fifth round, making it a score-or-go-home situation for Rider’s final attempt at keeping the game alive. Barker gave it his all, but unfortunately came up short, leaving the game at 3-2, and giving Guyer the win and advancement in the playoffs.

Although a very disappointing loss, it was accompanied by a valiant effort by the Raiders and their 15 seniors’ very last game as Raiders.

“They were each one of a kind, bringing something different to the team,” Roberts said. “I’ve learned a lot from them and they have been the best part of soccer for all three years I had with them.”

Roberts feels they have been great leaders, and even more importantly “better friends”. They will definitely be missed.