Before he could live a dream, St. Joseph’s Jared Thielke had to endure a nightmare Wednesday night.
“I did not want this game to go to penalty kicks; no goalie wants penalty kicks. But you do what you’ve gotta do,” said Thielke, the Most Valuable Player in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association boys All-Star soccer game that was decided by penalty kicks.
Penalty kicks are point-blank, one-on-one confrontations between five selected players and the goalkeeper that often decide a soccer match.
After the West’s Dylan Sherrill of Central Arkansas Christian scored on the first penalty kick, Thielke responded, but blocking three straight while his teammates scored three goals. That gave Thielke’s East squad a 3-1 edge in PK’s and a 4-3 victory in a back-and-forth match at John McConnell Stadium
The teams exchanged goals throughout the night. Sergio Martinez of Fort Smith Northside scored for the East in the 19th minute by Colton Spears of Harrison evened the count on a breakaway goal in the 27th minute. Evan Scarborough of Searcy put the East ahead in the 57th minute by Will Easley of Siloam Springs put a deflected ball into the back of the net in the 73rd minute to tie the game at 2.
That led to a frantic final 3:30 of regulation in which two goals were scored, one by the East’s Ryan Mason of Little Rock Catholic, then the equalizer by Spears when he slid the ball past Thielke from beyond the box with 1:21 left.
“That didn’t affect me as far as the penalty kicks,” Thielke said. “I’ve always been taught when that (a goal) happens to blow things off and concentrate on the next one. For a keeper, it’s the mentality you have to have. It’s part of it. A former coach I had always said, ‘It’s nothing but a thing and that’s the attitude I’ve always tried to have.”
Landon Boyles of Little Rock Christian was the Most Outstanding Player for the East. Easley was the Most Outstanding Player for the West.
“Words can’t describe the feeling,” said Thielke after he accepted the MVP Award. “It’s one of the greatest feelings I ever had. I enjoyed playing with these guys (the East) but I also enjoyed playing against the West guys. It was special and it was probably the most intense game I’ve ever been in in my life.”
FAULKNER REPRESENTATIVES: Erick Medina and Jacob Colbert of Greenbrier, and Beau Barnes of Conway, representing Central Arkansas Christian, played for the West. Matt Page of Greenbrer was an assistant coach for the West. Caleb Stephens of Vilonia served as manager.
WINNING PK’S: Scoring on penalty kicks for the East were Mason McNeill of Russellville, Bradley McBride of Valley View and Scarborough.
The girls game, which was scoreless after regulation, also went to penalty kicks with the West holding a 4-3 edge to take the victory.
Scoring penalty kicks for the West were Ellie Williams of Har-Ber, Shelby Gartrelle of Bryant, Ana Palacios of Gentry and Kayla Leal of Harrison. Making PK’s for the East were Catherine Bostwick of Little Rock Christian, Meagan Cantrell of Mountain Home and Elyse Albright of Maumelle. Sharon Robbins of Hot Springs stopped three penalty kicks for the West.
SHINING: Robbins was named the MVP. Alex Keene of Little Rock Christian was named Most Outstanding Player for the East and Gartrelle MOP for the West.
FAULKNER REPRESENTATIVES: Allison Lea of Conway Christian played for the East and Mario Stacy and Lhear Tapley of Greenbrier played for the West.
In the all-star volleyball match at the Farris Center, the East took a 25-22, 22-25, 25-11, 19-25, 15-9, five-set victory.
SHINING STARS: Haley Owen of Paris, who had 14 kills and seven assists, was named the Most Valuable Player. Ole Miss recruit Audrey Edie of Fayetteville, who had 26 assists, six kills, four digs and three blocks, was the Most Outstanding Player for the West. Little Rock Christian’s Markie Schaedig, an ASU signee, was the MOP for the East with 11 kills and 18 digs.