CHEYENNE – Declan Domyan’s right hand ended 17 years of frustration for Laramie County Community College.
That’s the hand the Golden Eagles’ freshman goalkeeper used to make a diving save on Augusto Cunha’s penalty kick and seal a 1-0 shootout victory over Marshalltown Community College on Saturday afternoon.
The win earned LCCC its first trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament since the program started in 2003.
The Eagles had twice been one win away from a national tournament berth. They also had been part of a few district semifinals, but they hadn’t gotten over the hump.
“This is very emotional,” said coach Vince Gibson, who is in his 12th season at LCCC. “When we won the Region IX tournament last week, I was happy but didn’t get too worked up because we had done that before.
“This one actually brought tears to my eyes because it’s something we haven’t done.”
The No. 17-ranked Eagles (15-3-1) had more shots (17-10) and more shots on goal (7-4) than seventh-ranked Marshalltown, but the match was deadlocked 0-0 after regulation and two halves of overtime.
LCCC had the better chances. Freshman midfielder Omar Castruita rifled a shot off the crossbar in the 39th minute. Midfielder Alexis Flores used his head to flick Imourana Naite’s dangerous free kick toward the goal only to have Tigers goalkeeper Bruno De Freitas make a point-blank save in the 77th.
In the 110th, freshman Carlos Vargas hit a shot on a volley that forced De Freitas to parry the ball over the crossbar with his right hand for a corner kick.
Marshalltown’s best chance came in the 66th when Marcus Pereira hit a right-footed shot toward the left upright that forced Domyan to dive to his right and make a difficult save.
“We talked all week about being disciplined and managing the game,” Gibson said. “There are things we would like to do, but we have to know the team we’re playing against. Some teams we’re going to have to high-press, some teams we’re going to have to medium-press and others we’re not going to press at all.
“Marshalltown was a team we decided we were going to have to press in certain situations. The guys managed that well for the most part. We did a good job of being organized defensively and keeping numbers behind the ball and forcing (Marshalltown) to waste a lot of time passing the ball around and setting things up.”
Naite also kicked a Marshalltown corner kick out of harm’s way in the 109th minute to keep the match scoreless.
“It’s not just about the defense, it’s about all of us working together to keep the other team from scoring,” Naite said. “There was a lot of pressure, and we came through.”
Vargas, Abe Lopez and Manny Tapia all made their kicks during the shootout. LCCC forged a 3-2 lead when Marshalltown’s Seiya Zen sailed his left-footed shot over the crossbar.
The teams traded scores before Marshalltown got its last breath of life when Castruita’s shot went over the frame. Domyan stopped Cunha’s attempt to secure the win.
“Sometimes the shooter gives you little signs that help you figure out where they’re going to go,” Domyan said. “That one, I just guessed. I had been going to my left a lot, so I decided to go to the right once and it worked out well.”
The NJCAA men’s soccer tournament starts Nov. 18 in Tyler, Texas.
LCCC 1, MARSHALLTOWN 0 (4-3 SO)
Halftime: 0-0. Regulation: 0-0. OT: 0-0.
Shootout goals: MCC 3 (Nagao, Pereira, Leal); LCCC 4 (Lopez, Vargas, Tapia, Jimenez-Flores).
Shots: MCC 10, LCCC 17. Shots on goal: MCC 4, LCCC 7. Saves: MCCC 7 (De Freitas); LCCC 4 (Domyan).
Corner kicks: MCC 7, LCCC 6. Offsides: MCC 1, LCCC 1. Fouls: MCC 15, LCCC 10. Yellow cards: MCC 2 (Viladot, 6. Mont, 55); LCCC 1 (Mathis, 94).