Canyon boys soccer defied plenty of expectations just to get to Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 5 first-round contest at Eastside.
The Cowboys scored in the final few minute of the second half to force overtime but fell 2-1 as Eastside scored in the second period of overtime to advance to the second round.
“We had kind of a debacle in our game against Saugus (on Jan. 6) and lost 4-0,” said Canyon coach Robert Benavidez. “From that point, I just asked them to give me 80 minutes of effort every time they went out there.
“I saw a consistent effort from that point and I couldn’t be more proud of them. But this is painful.”
Canyon didn’t pick up a loss in its seven games following the loss to Saugus and leading into Saturday. It defeated Filmore on the road Wednesday in a wild-card match to advance to the first round.
Shane Kelley delivered the equalizer in the second half on an assist from Adam Rodriguez. The Cowboys played the last few minutes of regulation and the entire overtime shorthanded as a player drew his second cautionary penalty late in the second half.
“It was a great battle,” Benavidez said “I thought we came out a bit flat and maybe that was because of the long bus ride or from Wednesday’s game. We gave up what we’d consider a soft goal early in the first and that put us in a hole.”
Canyon, which snapped a six-year postseason drought, finishes its season 8-13-4 and gained an automatic bid to the postseason after finishing third in the Foothill League.
Dunn 2, West Ranch 0
West Ranch put 10 shots on goal but was unable to find the back of the net as its season ended on the road in the first round of the Division 4 tournament.
Conversely, Dunn had just two shots on goal on the afternoon and converted on both.
The Wildcats end the year at 9-5-4 after finishing as runner-ups in the Foothill League