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Granite Bay loses to Bella Vista on penalty kicks

Grizzlies denied fourth section title in boys soccer
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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ELK GROVE - The sports world is full of cliches. One that's used often is the need to play a full ... fill in the blank here: 60 minutes, four quarters, nine innings, till the final buzzer. That's stating the obvious, but it's also true.

Granite Bay High School, less than a minute from claiming its second consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division II boys soccer championship, lost to Bella Vista 4-1 on penalty kicks Saturday night at Cosumnes Oaks High School.

Tex Gossett headed in the equalizer during a scrum in front of the goal with about 45 seconds left in regulation, and the Broncos (18-3-1) made four consecutive penalty kicks to claim the school's second section championship and first since 2003.

"Ultimately, it comes down to kicks from the spot, which is a flip of the coin in a lot of ways," Granite Bay coach Steve Fischer said. "I had a feeling in the playoffs that somebody was going to try to play us for a tie and PKs, and that's ultimately what it came down to. I knew when we didn't get the second goal in that was probably the way it was going to go."

The Grizzlies (20-4-3) scored on a header by Andrew Stabbert in the 32nd minute and led 1-0 almost until the final whistle. Almost. Granite Bay just missed on other chances. Dominic Scotti hit the crossbar five minutes into the second half, and both teams had shots in overtime but couldn't convert.

Gossett and Justin Childs scored on Bella Vista's first two penalty kicks, but Granite Bay went 0 for its first 2 when Tommy Thompson hit the left post with a ground shot and Brady Nations hit the crossbar.

Galen Herron made it 3-0 in the five-shot session, and Tanner Thompson scored to keep Granite Bay alive.

Devin Farnan then pumped a shot into the back of the net, the Broncos made a mad rush to the goal, and the visitors' side of Cosumnes Oaks' football stadium erupted.

Granite Bay was denied its fourth section title. The Grizzlies won banners in 2006, '08 and '10 and are a good bet to be in the hunt in '12.

Sophomore Tommy Thompson scored a team-high 20 goals and had nine assists. Junior Tanner Thompson had 16 goals and a team-best 20 assists.

"The thing I liked about the team the whole season was being able to adjust to all the different things we had to deal with," Fischer said, noting a U.S. Soccer Federation ultimatum in September that cost the Grizzlies seniors Ty Thompson and Cody Giddings, injuries sustained during a tournament in St. Louis and various other "ups and downs."