LEXINGTON, Ky. − For the fourth time in seven years, the Ryle High School boys soccer team had a tough loss in the state semifinals of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state tournament.
The Raiders lost 3-2 in a penalty-kick shootout to St. Xavier after a 1-1 draw Wednesday night at Lafayette High School. St. Xavier, a 15-time state champion, improves to 23-3-3 and advances to Saturday’s state final. Ryle finishes 22-3-1.
“We fought hard tonight against a really good soccer team,” Ryle head coach Stephen Collins said. “We had some injuries. We had to move some guys around. To hang in there and go to double overtime then PKs, you couldn’t ask for anything else.”
It was Ryle's second semifinal loss in PKs in the past seven years after losing to Daviess County in double-overtime in the 2017 semis.
After 10 minutes of sudden-death overtime, the game went to a best-of-five penalty-kick shootout.
Senior Josh Line scored in the first round for Ryle, and Beckham Murrow matched him for the Tigers. Ryle senior keeper Landon Barth and St. Xavier senior keeper Ben Howard each saved the next two shots.
Ryle senior Anes Smajlovic scored, matched by St. X senior Maxwell Newman. In the fifth round, Ryle senior Diego Hoenderkamp missed, and St. X junior Trenton Kaskocsak connected for the winning goal.
It was Ryle’s first loss since starting 0-2 to begin the season.
“These guys laid it all on the line,” Collins said. “That’s all you want. It stings, but they had a hell of a season. Who would have thought: You lose the first two games of the season and then you don’t lose again until the Final Four. That’s a very nice run.”
How both teams scored
St. Xavier scored first with 3:20 left in the first half on a penalty kick by Kaskocsak following a handball call on Ryle in the goal box. Collins said he wasn’t sure the call was correct and would have to look at the film.
Ryle junior Chris Maradiaga tied it two minutes into the second half after a long free kick from midfield by senior Owen Schierberg. The ball took one bounce, Maradiaga stuck his leg out and knocked it in from six yards for only his third goal of the year.
St. Xavier outshot Ryle 21-11 and had nine on goal to three for the Raiders.
Ryle senior Landon Barth, named first-team all-state in goal earlier in the day, made seven saves, most of them after an acrobatic dive.
“Landon has been our senior leader all year long,” Collins said. “When we needed a save or a key stop, Landon comes up big. In PKs, he saved two to keep us in it and we couldn’t convert today. Usually, we’re pretty reliable there.”
After giving up six goals total in the first two losses, Ryle gave up 11 in regulation the rest of the season.
“Defensively, we played a pretty good game,” Collins said. “They had some good shots. The key is can you get past that and regroup, which we were able to do.”
Ryle started six seniors: Barth, Jake McCann, Hoenderkamp, Anes Smajlovic, Schierberg and Line. Ryle had four other seniors, one who played off the bench, Ricardo Galan.
Hoenderkamp finished with 25 goals and 27 assists. Line had 14 and 10. Smajlovic nine and nine.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Kentucky high school soccer: Ryle boys soccer loses state semifinals