Boys Soccer: Gateway upsets International in penalty kicks to win BCL Central title

Gateway players celebrate after the game-winning penalty kick on Thursday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

International High School’s first Bay Counties League Central loss came at the worst possible time and in the most heartbreaking fashion.

After ending regulation and two overtime periods at a 1-1 tie, Gateway edged the Jaguars 4-3 in penalty kicks in the BCL Central championship game on Thursday at Kezar Stadium.

The winning strike came off the foot of Gateway senior Ricardo Calderon, the fifth and final Gators’ shooter.

The penalty kicks were locked at 3-3, when Calderon hit the ball low to the left side of the net. International goalkeeper Lucas Harrell got a hand on the ball, but the ball trickled just past him and into the net to clinch the victory.

“I wasn’t thinking anything. I was just focused on making that goal,” Calderon said. “It means a lot to us, [after losing to International twice in the regular season]. It means everything.”

While Calderon dealt the knockout blow, it was Gateway junior Fauris Franco who may have had the most impact on the shootout.

After playing the entire game at forward, Franco moved to goalkeeper for the penalty kicks and made a crucial save on International’s fourth shooter, Jose Guarduno and scored a kick of his own to even the shootout at 2-2.

Gateway junior goalkeeper Fauris Franco makes a save on a penalty kick on Thursday at Kezar Stadium. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“I just wanted to do what’s best for my team,” Franco said. “We deserve it. We lost to them twice, came into this game as an underdog and never gave up.”

The win gives the Gators their first league title since 2006.

“I was ready to have a heart attack,” said Gateway head coach Joe Killmaier. “It was hard to watch and nerve-wracking, but overall it was such a great game.”

As the elated Gators celebrated, the International sideline was dejected.

“When you go to penalties, it’s pretty much a lottery,” said International head coach Carlos Bover.”We played well, but we just didn’t finish, and in the end you leave everything to luck.”

Still Bover was happy with how his team responded, when Gateway took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Dennis Garcia in the 73rd minute. The Jaguars evened the score just three minutes later when junior Kai Leshne headed in a picture-perfect crossing pass from senior Laurent Hesnard.

“My team is strong mentally and they know what they can do,” Bover said. “I’m not scared when they go behind.

With the win, Gateway gets an automatic bid to the CIF-North Coast Section playoffs that begin next week. International will get an at-large bid as well, and will figure to be a high seed.

“I’d love to see Gateway again,” Bover said. “They’re a great matchup for us and we have a great rivalry with them.”

Scoring Summary

G: 73rd minute — Dennis Garcia
I: 76th minute — Kai Leshne

Penalty Kicks

I: Claudio Tarchi scores
G: Alejandro Calderon miss
I: Clay Boszies miss
G: Charlie Wilson scores
I: Christian Rosnes scores
G: Fauris Franco scores
I: Jose Garduno miss
G: Austin Miranda scores
I: Leshne scores
G: Ricardo Calderon scores


Slideshow by Devin Chen

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11 Comments

  1. Peter says:

    They Should play the winners of the AAA

  2. jake says:

    There was no mention of that first goal by International, and the “out of bounds” call (was that what the ref called?) on the first disallowed goal of the game. How can a player header a ball in from “out of bounds”?

  3. Kai Leshne says:

    The disallowed goal was a ridiculous call. If I had headered the ball from out of bounds, the ball would have had to go over the crossbar and then dip to my team mate’s head within the three feet between the goal and his head. Absolute BS

  4. Laurent says:

    It’s true that the referee’s definitely made a few key decisions during this game (The disallowed goal? The uncalled fouls for both teams) However soccer is soccer and refereeing is sometimes inconsistent unfortunately International should have played well enough as to not let it boil down to a few refereeing mistakes. In the end, Gateway won in penalties, nothing we can do about it now except play hard in NCS. However the BCL Central officials should definitely review the tape of the disallowed goal and seriously consider never letting those guys ref another game…
    See you guys in NCS.

  5. David says:

    Gateway won, fair and square. They dominated most of the game and should Have won in regular time. International was sloppy, should have seen more yellow cards. A rematch will probably play out the same, let the rematch begin!

  6. Kai Leshne says:

    Gateway won fairly and it was a great game. I was not cutting down the way Gateway performed in anyway. However the reffing was anything but spectacular. I’m glad Gateway and International both get to go to NCS though!

  7. Anon says:

    Definitely david… i mean international did beat gateway 3-2 and 2-0 in regular season…. so a rematch will probably play out the same.. Great logic on that one.

  8. David says:

    Anon, I hope it happens, the first two games,gateway was missing about three of their top players. You were clearly out matched Thursday, just consider who had the most possession and goal shots. Your coach knows it’s a much better team. Good luck, you will need it.these teams are the best in the league, which is not saying much when you consider how bad all the other teams are. At least yor match up is competitive and fun to watch.

  9. Anonymous says:

    David ur rite we were messn 2 of our top players. Its fuuny how international is just mad. Plus international doesnt have any players compare to gateway for example Austin, Fauris, Dennis, Charlie, Ricardo and Marlon. International has only kai.

  10. Bill says:

    I don’t think either of these two teams will be a major threat in NCS. The power of the Division comes from BCL West as well as North such as Calistoga and Fort Bragg. Marin Academy looks solid again this year as well. It will be interesting to see how these two teams do and if they meet again.

  11. b.c. says:

    Bill…don’t be so confident…

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