ARGOS — A strong wind and a fingertip helped end the Westview boys soccer team’s 11-game winning streak — and season altogether.
Kouts scored a goal on a corner kick from senior Jeremy Ryan with 3:14 left in regulation, and junior goalkeeper Aaron Ketchmark was able to get a finger on the seventh penalty kick shot from the Warriors to end Westview’s season and give the Mustangs a 2-1 (4-3 PKs) victory in the Class 2A regional semifinal Saturday at Argos High School.
“It hurts,” Westview coach Jamie Martin said. “This is a pretty big statement, but I don’t think the better team won. But, unfortunately, it is what it is. We put our fate into PKs, and that’s a tough way to go.”
Ryan’s goal came directly off a corner kick. Kouts had the wind to their back in the second half, and it appeared the breeze helped curve the ball into the front corner of the net for the equalizer.
The Mustangs had eight corner kicks in the second half.
“We knew they were good at corners, and we gave (them) a lot of corners,” Martin said. “And, eventually they got us.”
The shootout was tied at three through five rounds, forcing sudden death PKs. Both teams missed in the sixth round. To start the seventh round, Kouts sophomore Ryan Fox made a shot just past the outstretched hands of Westview goalkeeper Drew Litwiller. Senior Chandler Pushman looked to extend the game for the Warriors, but Ketchmark was able to get a hand on the shot and push it over the crossbar.
Westview took the lead a little more than 10 minutes into the game. Junior Jadon Yoder made a strong move to the net, and his initial shot was stopped. The ball trickled away from Ketchmark and was cleaned up by Warrior senior Abdul Saleh, who drove the ball into the back of the net to put his team up 1-0 with 29:48 left in the first half.
“It was awesome,” said Martin of the goal. “And that’s the thing that we’ve been trying to do all season, is crash that backside (of the net). Abdul got the start for Gramm (Egli) today and he was just in the perfect spot. That was great to see.”
Both teams used the wind to their advantage Saturday, as both goals were scored with the wind to their backs. Martin credited it for the reason why the Mustangs had much more sustained pressure in the second half on the Warrior defense.
“They used the wind,” Martin said. “It was a stiff wind. There was no other place the ball was going toward. They had to be more aggressive in the second half because we were winning. We held on for a long time, but they knew they had to do something drastic to score on us because we held them scoreless for the first 40 minutes.”
Westview’s season ends with a 12-8-1 record. They started the season 1-7-1 before winning 11-straight games to advance to the regional round. The sectional championship was the first one they had won since 2016.
“What a great season,” Martin said. “(Kouts) is a good team; they’re undefeated for a reason. They did what they have to do to win the game, and we fell a little short. But we talk about this a lot: I didn’t think we’d be here. So, I’m happy.”
A lot of the roster will be returning for next year as well, including the top two scorers — Yoder and freshman Teague Miser — and the entire starting defense.
“I think this is just the start,” Martin said. “I knew coming into this year that we were going to rebuild some and I knew I had some good young guys coming up. … It feels really good. I’m looking forward to the next three, four years. We’re excited about our future.”