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BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

R.J. Keranko scored twice on penalty kicks for host Rochester, but the Peru boys soccer team edged the Zebras 3-2 in a penalty kick shootout at the Brent Blacketor Memorial Sports Complex on Sept. 12.

The game was tied 2-2 after 80 minutes of regulation and 14 minutes of overtime. Peru made three of four penalty kicks while Rochester made two of five.

Rochester fell to 3-7-1. The game was played in near constant rain.

Rochester coach Eric Backus said afterwards that Peru and his team were “about equally matched.”

“The weather conditions are not the greatest and played a little into it,” Backus said. “Because normal touches where we’re settling a ball at our feet are coming off hard because the ball is skipping into us and stuff, but they had to deal with the same thing. So hats off to Peru. They played tough. In PKs, they put them in the back of the net, and we didn’t.”

Rochester junior Parker Wallace played the first 94 minutes on defense and then played goalkeeper for the penalty kick phase. Wallace is the Zebras’ regular goalkeeper but had been battling a sprained thumb that had made catching the ball painful. Tyler Reese started in Wallace’s place in goal and had 20 saves.

“He stepped up,” Backus said of Reese. “He’s not the athlete that Parker is, but he’s done everything we’ve asked.”

Wallace stopped Oliver Rabe but could not stop Jacobi Boyer, Brycen Harlan and Andrew Dawalt.

Carlos Plascencia and Wallace converted their PKs, but Keranko’s shot skidded off the crossbar and Mitchell Shafer’s clanged off the right post before Peru goalkeeper Cooper Baldwin stopped Wyatt Davis to end the game.

The game was tied 1-1 after regulation before Peru took a 2-1 lead with 2:21 left in the first overtime.

But Shafer was fouled in the box with 5:38 left in the second overtime. Keranko scored from the penalty spot to tie the game again.

It would soon lead to even more penalty kicks.

“We just kept digging,” Backus said. “I love to see that out of my kids. Our record is not showing how hard we’re playing right now. We’re getting it. We’re getting after it in practice. We’re playing teams tough even though we’re inexperienced. I’m proud of what we’re doing right now.”


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