Final penalty kick is a winner for Lourdes

  • Updated: November 1, 2012 - 11:44 PM

Will Elder's saves set up Hadi Berbari's goal for the Eagles' third title.

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St. Paul Academy's Peter Wood walked dejectedly toward midfield, face buried in his jersey, the second Spartans player stymied by Rochester Lourdes goalkeeper Will Elder in the overtime shootout.

Lourdes' Hadi Berbari strode the other direction, focused on deep breaths. The two teams had finished 100 minutes of championship soccer at the Metrodome deadlocked 1-1. A successful penalty kick from the fifth Eagles shooter, would decide the match.

His shot connected, giving Lourdes a 2-1 victory Thursday over top-ranked and previously unbeaten St. Paul Academy. It secured the Eagles' third Class 1A title but first since 1999.

"Will made that great save, and I realized it was my turn to shine, I guess," said Berbari, a sophomore midfielder who entered in the second half.

No. 4 Lourdes (22-1) seldom practices penalty-kick situations. But there is no way to simulate the bravery Berbari showed by volunteering to participate.

"It showed great character for him to put that goal away," said Elder, who made two clutch saves to set the stage for Berbari.

Elder came through twice in a situation where shooters typically have the advantage, a performance his rival in the nets could appreciate.

"His ability to make two saves -- very classy," St. Paul Academy goalkeeper Ben Braman said. "The teams today were so even and that makes penalty kicks such a cruel way to end a state championship. It just wasn't our day."

The teams traded goals in the first half. Lorenzo Pavoloni scored in the 36th minute to give St. Paul Academy (19-1-2) a 1-0 lead but Gabe Salerno tied the score about a minute later.

DAVID LA VAQUE

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