By Justin Whitaker
BROWNSBURG — It was the same two teams, it was the same two scores and unfortunately for the Cascade boys’ soccer team, it was the same result.
The Cadets fell to Greencastle six days previously before Wednesday’s sectional contest at Bethesda Christian. The Sept. 27 match was a 1-1 tie that headed to overtime before being decided in penalty kicks.
And just like nearly a week before, the sectional match was 1-1 that went to overtime before penalty kicks decided the winner of this contest.
“It was identical, 1-1 going into overtime and all the way into PK’s at 1-1 again,” Cascade coach Logan Faulkner said. “Instead of losing on the last one, we lost midway through PK’s. It’s a heavy bout of déjà vu for sure.”
The Tiger Cubs and Cadets both converted their first two penalty kicks before Cascade missed its third and fourth kicks and Greencastle made both of its to clinch the win.
“It’s hard to lose in PK’s no matter what,” Faulkner said. “It’s so hard because players will try and put all the blame on themselves and it’s not that. It’s a team effort no matter what, always has, always will be.”
Second-year coach Faulkner, a goalie throughout his high school and college player career, understands the pressure that penalty kicks bring.
“It’s horrible. I know what it’s like,” he said. “It’s the most nerve wracking experience of your career no matter what the game. Much less a tournament like this where it’s season ending and it comes down to just you and a striker.”
After multiple scoring opportunities, Cascade finally broke through to tie the score 1-1 with 6:44 remaining in the game. Austin Lautenschlager was able to blast a goal from the right side of the box to even the game up.
“I saw an excellent finish. Austin had perfect placement, perfect timing,” Faulkner said.
Two seven-minute halves of overtime was played with no scoring as the penalty kicks then decided the game.
The Cadets controlled the ball the majority of the game and had multiple scoring opportunities but just wasn’t able to convert on the chances.
“I really feel, and I’m slightly biased, that we dominated that game,” Faulkner said. “We were just unlucky in our finishing.”
Faulkner couldn’t put his finger on what prevented the Cadets from getting over the hump.
“It was just maybe we were too slow to hit or there was one extra touch too many. Maybe it was an unlucky bounce in the field or maybe a slip on the ball,” he said. “There are so many factors. I saw my guys play hard and I can’t really pinpoint it to one certain thing. It just didn’t go in.”
Cascade graduates four seniors in Brian McConnell, Patrick Jaggers, Daljot Bajwa and Lautenschlager.
“I could not have asked for a better group of guys. I really couldn’t, I’m so blessed to have had them,” Faulkner said. “I wish all four of them the best moving on.”