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Jacks fall to Connell in 1A playoffs

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | May 20, 2023 10:17 AM

QUINCY – Despite a late goal to tie the game in the second half, Quincy fell 3-2 to Connell in penalty kicks in the first round of the 1A State Boys Soccer Tournament on Friday.

Connell and Quincy were tied 1-1 at the end of the first half, and both sides traded goals in the second half to force overtime. With no goals in either overtime, Connell outshot the Jacks 4-2 in the penalty shootout.

“I think the way we started the game today, it could have been a tailspin off of (last week’s loss),” Quincy Head Coach Francisco Tafoya said. “But, it just showed that the boys really wanted to make up for that first half, coming back and tying the game, putting up a better fight towards the end there. But PKs – it’s a toss-up.”

The Eagles scored first on Friday night, a shot off a deflection to take a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute. Just before halftime, Quincy senior Isaac Lopez scored the equalizer on a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time.

Connell was able to shake off Quincy’s late first-half momentum with another goal in the 41st minute.

“(Lopez’s goal) was big, I think it helped us with the momentum going to the second half, but that goal that (Connell) had in the first few minutes kind of deflated us,” Tafoya said.

After numerous runs in front of the Connell net, Jackrabbit senior Jorge Nunez tied the game at two when he scored off a deflection by a Connell defender in the 67th minute.

“That’s him this whole season, he’s just going to fight until the very end,” Tafoya said. “That’s the type of player he is. League MVP, top scorer for this team. Kid goes above and beyond, we’re sure going to miss him.”

Both teams remained tied in the final 13 minutes of the second half and through both overtime periods, setting up a penalty shootout to determine who would move on in the 1A state playoffs. Quincy and Connell made their first two shots, but the Jacks missed their next two attempts to allow Connell to leave with a 3-2 win.

This is the second-straight season Quincy has lost in the first round of the state playoffs; last year, the No. 3 Jacks fell 3-2 to No. 14 Seattle Academy.

“State seedings and all that stuff, it really doesn’t matter because, at the end of the day, everybody’s going to play hard,” Tafoya said. “It showed today, the way Connell came in – it showed that they wanted this game just as much as we did. It’s hard to swallow.”

Quincy will graduate seven seniors off this year’s roster; Alejandro Mendoza, Antonio Valadez, Alexandro Hernandez, Nunez, Lopez, Eduardo Diaz and Edgar Guzman.

“(The seniors are) a huge part,” Tafoya said. “These boys, most of them are varsity players from the very start. The tremendous growth and huge components they were to this team – we’re going to miss them.”

Despite the loss of the seniors, the Jacks will return a solid core of starters in 2024. Tafoya said he hopes the returners use the previous two years as motivation.

“Hopefully they don’t want to feel this again,” Tafoya said. “It’s two years running we get to the state playoffs, and first round out. That’s a habit we’ve got to break. Hopefully, they feel this pain and recover from it, and keep moving forward. We have a good base still, and hopefully, we get out of this slump we’re in when it comes to state playoffs.”

Box Score

CONL: 1-1 PKS: 1-1-1-1 4

QUIN: 1-1 PKS 1-1-X-X 2

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IAN BIVONA/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Quincy junior Alexander Murillo looks up to track the ball in the air in the first half against Connell on Friday.

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IAN BIVONA/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Quincy senior Edgar Guzman, right, rushes upfield with possession of the ball against Connell on Friday.

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IAN BIVONA/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Quincy senior Isaac Lopez (10) connects on a penalty shot in the first half against Connell on Friday.