Rider On To The Regional Finals

Eighty minutes weren't enough to decide the Region I-4A Semifinal soccer match between Rider and San Elizario.

Then, two plays that decided the game took place in the first overtime. Three minutes in, Elizario's Felipe Acosta had a one-on-one chance with Rider goalkeeper Drake Szczepinski. Szczepinski made the initial save, but the ball remained free for a rebound chance. The senior recovered, diving on the ball to prevent a score.

"It really scared me," he said.

The save was one of many for the senior, keeping the match scoreless until 3:39 left in the first overtime.

Senior Jonathan Munoz lined up for a free kick against the wind.

"Jonathan can kick the ball a mile," Rider head coach Josh Hill said. "So, we knew he could get the ball into the box."

He did.

A charging Nathan Van De Vyvere headed the ball just inside the post for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

"We've been working on set pieces all week," Van De Vyvere said. "I just did what the coach told me to do, go to the ball and attack it."

With the 1-0 win, Rider advances to play El Paso De Valle, a team that finished ahead of San Elizario in District 3-4A. The Conquistadores topped Crowley 1-0 earlier in the afternoon.

The regional final starts at noon at Memorial Stadium. With a win, Rider would return to the state tournament for the first time since winning it all in 2007.