Tracy High sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Pranke was ready for his opportunity on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to move the Bulldog soccer team to the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.
The team’s first-round playoff game against the Tokay High Tigers came down to a penalty kick shootout after the teams tied 1-1 in regulation play and two overtime periods at Tracy High.
“I was more pumped than pressured,” Pranke said. “I was ready for it.”
Pranke dove to his left for two saves out of four shots in a one-on-one face-off against Tokay’s shooters. His teammates scored four goals in a row, earning Tracy the win.
Bulldog coach Phil Kalis had expected to see penalty kick shootouts decide close playoff matches this season. He also knew that Pranke, in his first year as a varsity player, would rise to the occasion.
“He plays with a lot of confidence,” Kalis said. “We worked on penalty kicks for two or three days of training, and we made sure he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He executed everything perfectly in the goal.”
Tracy (10-4-2, 6-2-2 San Joaquin Athletic Association) was seeded No. 8 in the 16-team Division II bracket. Tokay (8-5-4, 5-1-4 Tri-City Athletic League) was No. 9.
Tracy is now headed to Napa on Thursday, Nov. 7, to face Vintage High (20-1-1, 13-1-1 Monticello Empire League). Vintage is the top team in the MEL and the No. 1 seed in Division II. Kickoff is 3 p.m.
Junior defender Moises Gonzalez said Tuesday that the Tokay team proved to be big and fast. The Tigers were quick to move the ball on offense and quick to get in position on defense.
“It wasn’t easy to protect against them, but we played smart,” Gonzalez said. “That’s how we won the game.”
Both teams played a scoreless first half. Tracy kept up the offensive pressure, but even on corner kicks, the Bulldogs were unable to get more than a couple of shots past Tokay’s defenders.
Four minutes into the second half, senior Cameron Divoky launched a free kick from midfield to the right side of the goal. Tokay’s goalie, facing into the setting sun, blocked the shot, but Tracy sophomore attacker Jonny Marin was in position to make the follow-up shot into the left side of the goal.
“He just had to hit it out and I was there to finish it,” Marin said. “We stepped up and played higher than the other team and finished our chances. We just never gave up.”
Tokay’s Jose Orosco tied the game in the 57th minute with a one-on-one shot at Pranke and the Tracy goal.
Also on Thursday, the Millennium High Falcons will compete in the first round of the eight-team Division VI playoffs.
The Falcons (11-7-2, 8-1-0 Central California Athletic Alliance) are the No. 4 seed and will host Summerville High of Tuolumne (12-3-4, 10-1-4 Mother Lode League), the No. 5 seed. Game time is 3 p.m. at Tracy Learning Center, 51 E. Beverly Place.
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