Gilbert falls just short against Pella in the 2A boys state soccer semifinals

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

Gilbert was in control for most of its game with Pella in the Class 2A semifinals of the boys state soccer tournament Friday at the Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.

But the Tigers couldn't get the extra break they needed in suffering a 2-1 shootout loss to the Little Dutch.

"It's frustrating and heartbreaking," Gilbert head coach B.J. Jordison said. "It's one of those things where I think we were the better team throughout the game. We just couldn't get the ball in the back of the net."

Pella scored just 2:57 into the game when Austin Bone got off a ball that Gilbert keeper Justin Terry couldn't quite handle. But from that point on the Tigers were dominant until the end of regulation.

Gilbert's Jackson Johnson heads the ball upfield against Pella on Friday in Des Moines.

In the first half, Gilbert's Owen Wirth had a great look after beating Pella's Max Lauman on the left side of the goal, but Pella keeper Tyler Killoren came up and snared the ball just in time.

Gilbert got a ball past Killoren just before that, but Pella got the ball cleared to avert potential disaster.

The Tigers continued to control the game in the second half. With six minutes left in regulation, they tied the score on a header by Wirth off a ball from Isaac Weary.

Gilbert kept up the pressure in the final minutes of regulation. Zach Holtan had a great look with two minutes left for the Tigers, but he was just a tad wide.

Pella's Logan Schroeder, left, battles Gilbert's Owen Wirth for the ball during Friday's game in Des Moines.

Gilbert also had a great opportunity in a scrum near the goal with 1:30 left in regulation, but Killoren came up and made a clutch save.

Neither team could get much momentum going in the two overtime periods. Gilbert dodged a bullett four minutes into the first overtime when Pella drew Terry away from the goal to give Isaac Semini an open look, but his shot sailed wide left.

In the shootout Killoren came up and made two huge saves on the first and third Gilbert attempts. But Logan Solomon was high on Pella's third attempt to give Gilbert hope.

That hope was quickly dashed. Teddy Apostolopoulos and Semini came through on the final two attempts to give Pella the win and send the top-seeded Little Dutch (19-2) into the championship game against Lewis Central.

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"If you get down to penalties it comes down to who is good at that specific thing," Jordison said. "It didn't come out in our favor this time."

Wirth, Jackson Johnson and Evan Weary all converted their PKs for Gilbert during the shootout.

Members of the Gilbert boys soccer team receive the state participant trophy after a shootout loss to Pella on Friday.

Gilbert finished its season with an 18-2 record. 

"I'm really proud of how far they've come," Jordison said. "I'm happy with how they looked this year and how they showed themselves down here. I'm looking forward to the future."

Tiger senior Evan Weary is proud of how his senior class took the Tigers to state after missing out on their sophomore season due to COVID-19 then only going 12-9 a year ago.

"We gave it our all," Weary said. "It was a good rebuilding year. It's been great and they'll be back next year."

Pella 2, Gilbert 1 (shootout)

Gilbert    0    1    0    0    0 — 1

Pella       1    0    0    0    1 — 2

Scoring

First half

P — Austin Bone, 2:57.

Second half

G — Owen Wirth (Isaac Weary), 74:08.

Shootout

P — Preston Rowe

G — Wirth

P — Levi Van Dusseldorp

G — Jackson Johnson

P — Teddy Apostolopoulos

G — Evan Weary

P — Isaac Semini