Top 10 Fall Sports Moments: #6 Cedar Ridge men’s soccer stuns Orange in penalties

Updated: November 20, 2019

Chris Walker has a long memory.

When Orange defeated Cedar Ridge 4-1 in 2017 at Red Wolves Stadium, Walker muttered afterward that he hadn’t lost to Orange at home since he took over as coach in 2013.

On September 18, it appeared another loss to Orange was certain. Rohan Kasthuri scored in the second half to bolt the Panthers ahead 3-1 with 22:30 remaining.

To make matters more difficult, Cedar Ridge already had lost leading scorer Brandon Garcia, who was injured midway through the second half. Garcia had a seven-game scoring streak to open the season and didn’t return until the 2nd overtime session, and barely touched the ball even then.

With 17:00 remaining, the Red Wolves went on the attack. Freshman Nicholas Frank scored two goals in a span of 43 seconds to tie the game.

Junior Dean Allen fed Frank with two gorgeous through passes on each goal that ultimately sent the game into penalty kicks.

Fittingly, Frank laced the game-winning penalty into the middle right side of the net. Cedar Ridge junior goalkeeper Ty Corbin made the save on Orange’s final attempt to start a wild celebration among the Cedar Ridge players.

“I told our guys at halftime we had to go back to our game plan,” said Walker, his voice hoarse from an intense night off coaching. “I pulled Nick in the first half because he told me ‘Coach, I’m not getting the ball.’ And I asked him what he was going to do? I told him he had to do more to get the ball.”

And he did. On consecutive possessions in the 2nd half, Frank received the ball after 20-yard runs. His first goal came from 20 yards away after Orange’s goalkeeper came out of net as Frank collected a gorgeous balll from Reese Weaver.

Less than a minute later, Frank received another pass to even the game.

Orange led penalties 3-2 after three rounds, but Corbin made saves on the last two attempts.

Garcia, Weaver, Erickson Thole and Frank scored penalties for Cedar Ridge.

The rematch in Hillsborough would be just as dramatic. Orange’s Elliott Sikes sent the game into overtime on an equalizing goal with 1:06 remaining in the second half.

Tyler Werden started the scoring for Orange. Frank and William Mendoza put the Red Wolves ahead with consecutive goals, including one assisted by Victor Garcia-Salazar.

After two scoreless overtime period, it came down to penalty kicks once again. In penalties, it once again boiled down to the fifth and final round. Frank calmly slotted his attempt past Orange goalkeeper Jonathan Cowan. Kasthuri stepped up and missed wide right on the final attempt.

The Cedar Ridge huddle at midfield exploded and rushed to join their goalie. As they raced past him at full speed, Kasthuri, seemingly in slow motion, fell to the ground.

Cedar Ridge would narrowly miss the playoffs with a 7-12-1 record. They had close losses to Northwood and Southern Durham to conclude the season, but they succeeded in sweeping the Hillsborough Derby from its arch rivals. Orange ended the year 7-13, 4-10 in the Big 8 Conference.

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