Draper • Michael Peterson had dreamed about scoring the winning goal in a soccer game for as long as he can remember.
He just didn't think it would happen during a shootout, let alone in the semifinals of the Class 2A state tournament.
Peterson's dreams became a reality when he booted the winning penalty kick to lift Manti past St. Joseph 4-3 on Friday at Juan Diego. The teams were tied 1-1 after double overtime.
"I just wanted to make it, just like in practice," said Peterson, who admitted it was his first time shooting a penalty kick in a game. "I looked at one side and faked to the other. I felt nervous, but when I got up there, I didn't anymore."
Manti (16-1-0) advanced to Saturday's 2A championship game against American Leadership Academy at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Templars, who are the defending 2A champions, captured their 16th consecutive victory in the process.
"I knew this would be a hard-fought battle, and it doesn't get any more than that," Manti coach Gerald Wayman said. "This felt like the championship game. We were No. 1 and No. 2 for most of the season. It's sad we had to meet in the semifinals rather than the finals. We had all the momentum at the end."
Still, shootouts can be unpredictable. Manti, the highest scoring team in the state, had not participated in a shootout in two years. Nonetheless, the Templars looked relaxed in the moment. Peterson, Carlo Garcia, Juan Frutos and Marco Alamanza each scored during the shootout, while St. Joseph missed twice.
The teams traded goals within the first 13 minutes of the contest before playing even the rest of the way. However, Manti continued to push the attack going forward during the overtime periods.
"It seemed obvious to me [St. Joseph] wanted to go into a shootout," Wayman said. "We had a lot of chances in overtime, and they were packing it in. They were a lot better the first 10 or 15 minutes, and we were a little timid. But once we started playing a little harder, the more opportunities we had."
Something had to give in the game. Manti entered the semifinal with 95 goals scored this season, while St. Joseph had allowed only seven. The heartbreak continued for the Jayhawks, who have reached at least the quarterfinal round of the playoffs in seven consecutive years but come away empty each time. St. Joseph (12-2-3) actually scored the game's first goal when Pakuya Ishakawa converted a cross in front of the net. The Templars answered just four minutes later when Frutos scored following a give-and-go with Esteban Maldonado.
Wayman counseled his players to get the rest they needed.
"I want to get these guys back to the hotel, eat and to bed, as hard as that might be," he said.
Class 2A title game
at Rio Tinto Stadium
11 a.m. • American Leadership vs. Manti