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El Dorado went 4-for-4 on penalty kicks and staved off Hot Springs Lakeside Friday night in 5A-South soccer action at the El Dorado Soccer Complex. The Wildcats outscored the Rams 4-2 in the shootout after battling to a 1-1 draw in regulation.

El Dorado improved to 7-3-1 overall and 6-2 in conference. Lakeside fell to 8-6, 6-2.

The Wildcats moved into a tie for second in the conference.

El Dorado coach Hunter South praised his team’s composure during the shootout. None of the Wildcats came close to missing.

“It’s all about just focusing and worrying about keeping it on frame. If the keeper saves it, it’s a good save but we have to keep it on frame,” South said. “It’s sweet to beat them like this because they beat us in a shootout last time. It’s kind of sweet.”

The Wildcats led 1-0 after Jadon Cunningham’s goal with 24:36 in the first half. The Rams came out and dominated after intermission, however.

El Dorado goalkeeper Garrett Munoz, somehow, managed to keep the ball out of the net. He made a spectacular save, leaping how to flick a deep, bending blast away from the right corner early in the second half. El Dorado dodged a bullet when Grant Viscardis made it through the defense but pushed his shot wide. Moments later, Munoz came up big again, saving a left-footed bullet at the 22:02 mark.

Finally, the Rams got something past him when Kade Tarbet scored from point-blank range at 12:40 after a miscue in the Wildcats’ backline.

The last few minutes were a flurry of activity as both teams went on the attack with neither finding the net.

The game went to penalty kicks with Lakeside’s Thomas McAlister scoring first. Brandon Vazquez went upper right to even the score for El Dorado.

The Rams’ next attempt hit the crossbar and bounced away allowing Cunningham to give the Wildcats the lead, tucking the ball into the lower left corner. Lakeside tied it at 2-2 on a goal by Imanol Barragan.

But, El Dorado wasn’t going to miss and the Rams already had. Agustin Reichhardt beat Lakeside’s Anthony Herrera up top for a 3-2 lead. The Rams then shot high over the net, giving Alex Jiminez the opportunity to end the game, which he did with a clean shot into the net.

South called the victory a “total team effort.” But, he did single out the play of his goalkeeper.

“Actually, Garrett is our second-string keeper. Our first string was out today. Garrett stepped up and he did a fantastic job,” said South. “He made some great saves in the second half. They came out and they wanted it more than us in the second half. But, our boys dug deep. Garrett kept us in the game and we kept calm during the shootout and it pulled us through.”

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