Clark’s men’s soccer team played 113,400 seconds during regulation play this season.
What cost them their season happened in just 20.
After winning 14 games and securing the South Region championship, the team had a first-round bye in the NWAC playoffs. The Penguins looked like they were bound for the Final Four if they could just get past Skagit Valley.
The two teams squared off on Nov. 8 at McKenzie Stadium. The first half was tightly contested and both teams went into the locker room tied 0-0 at halftime.
However, within the first 10 minutes of the second half Clark allowed a goal—not just any goal, a goal from a corner kick.
Clark was tops in the 21-team NWAC with only 11 goals allowed and 15 shutouts. They also hadn’t allowed a corner-kick goal all season.
Eighteen minutes later Clark allowed yet another corner kick goal. Freshman captain and NWAC All-Star Octavio Hermosillo called it disappointing.
“It was probably those 20 seconds of a lack of focus that cost us the season,” he said.
Despite allowing the two set-piece goals, Clark also struggled at maintaining its composure. Four Penguins earned yellow cards and forward Ian Schimandle got a red card in the 87th minute.
A goal from Clark’s Abran Serrano-Garcia with eight minutes left in the game gave Clark life but it was too late to rescue the season. The Penguins lost 1-2 and were eliminated from the playoffs.
“It felt like a failure for us because we were so set on going to the Final Four,” said freshman Fernando Ibanez.
Last year Clark made it to the Final Four and was the runner-up to NWAC champion Peninsula.
Even though the team was bounced out of the playoffs earlier than they expected, it was still a successful year. Four Penguins including Hermosillo were selected to the NWAC All-Star team and head coach Biniam Afenegus was named South Region Coach of the Year.
“We had the potential to do a lot more,” Hermosillo said.
After a heartbreaking loss, Hermosillo said he is motivated to achieve the goals set by the team next season.
“This loss is the reason I’m coming back next year. We aimed so high and didn’t get where we wanted so that’s going to make me improve for next year.”