OMAHA – It may have taken a few extra minutes, but Columbus would not be denied in the Class B Quarterfinal round on Thursday night.
The Discoverers scored two goals in the second overtime period to defeat the Omaha Gross Catholic Cougars 2-0. The match saw stellar defensive play by both team’s keepers, and an aggressive offensive attack by Columbus that tallied seven shots in the first period to the Cougars two.
Cougar keeper Brandon Villanueva had seven saves through the first three periods of play, but he let in his first goal of the match in the 92nd minute on a Columbus free kick. Antonio Jimenez lofted the ball high in the air for Ivan Rios, who came soaring in out of nowhere for a header to break the 0-0 tie.
The goal brought the Discoverer student section to its feet, as Rios celebrated his 21st and most important goal of the season. Head Coach John Arlt said that it’s a play the Discoverers work on a little bit, but the team knows exactly what it wants in that type of situation.
“We just know we want to put a ball up in the air because we’ve got Garrett (Esch) and Ivan who are really tall, they can jump really well, and so you put a ball up there and hope for the best,” Arlt said.
Columbus wasn’t content with just one goal in the final overtime period, as sophomore Garrett Esch added an insurance goal to increase the lead to 2-0, which would end up as the final score. Arlt said that even though one goal had already gone in, he knew his team was going to stay aggressive to try and tack on at least one more.
“I want to settle and hold, but that’s not in their nature, so they continued to press the line,” Arlt said. “And when there’s not much time left in the game the other team is obviously pressing up, and so you can get that second goal and all the pressure’s off.”
Columbus now advances to the semifinal round for the first time since back-to-back trips in 2016 and 2017, and will look to advance to their first State Championship match since 2009. The Discoverers will face the Lexington Minutemen, who defeated Omaha Roncalli Catholic 4-1 in OT on Thursday night.
The semifinal match will take place at 11:00 AM at Morrison Stadium on Saturday.