NORTH POLE, AK-On their home field on senior night it took everything North Pole had to score a goal and to then hold off West Valley's aggressive attempts to score. The Patriots would prevail with a tight 1-0 win over the Wolfpack to secure the number one seed in the MAC boys soccer tournament.
The first half went scoreless as both teams played tremendous defensively. Anything that managed to get through as stopped by the two goalies who were just on their game. North Pole hasn't allowed a goal all season despite the shortness of it. West Valley would challenge that stat in the second half.
Both teams picked up the pace a bit in the second half and the instensity of the game elevated as well. The physicality of the game was getting more aggressive as the referess let the players play a bit. Finally a little over halfway into the second half one of the North Pole seniors made one of the biggest plays of the game. Looking for an opening all day senior Anthoy Gibson found a small window on the left side of the box took a touch and put the ball high over West Valley's goalie as it landed in the net on the far right side. 1-0 North Pole and that was all they needed.
With less than a half to play the Patriots packed in defensively but the Wolfpack would not relent sending more players in the opposing box but Brady Crane stood tall for North Pole. Crane made saved from possible through passes, corner kicks and angled shots. Crane got lucky too which every goalie needs in a tight shutout. West Valley could've put up four scores but a number of shots-some close, some long, some with excellent looks just could night the target of the goal. The closest was a header froma corner kick that bounce off the high post so closey that just three inches down would have been a goal.
North Pole was not dismayed by West Valley's chances and the Wolfpack kept firing but could not connect and the Patriots win a thrill on senior night. North Pole won the regualr season title going a perfect 5-0. West Valley will be the two seed in the MAC tournament so in just a few days both of these teams may meet again Sunday for the MAC title and a state berth.
WEST VALLEY: Brayden Deweese left early in the game with a rigth wrist injury. Deweese commented after the game that he's not sure if it's broken but it's definitely strained. Christian Keator also left the game with a right ankle injury in the second half and was helped off the field after the game. Their status for the MAC tournament is uncertain at this point but West Valley won't play again until Saturday.
NORTH POLE: Josh Million is still out after his ankle injury suffered during Tuesday's Hutchison game. He hopes to be back by Sunday for the MAC championship. Rapheal Martinez was ejected from tonight's game with back to back yellow cards. He will be unavailable for the first game of the MAC tournament for North Pole.