Grant Union 4, Umatilla 4

JOHN DAY - Penalty kicks were the deciding factor in the soccer match between Grant Union and Umatilla for the top spot in the Mountain West Conference on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the Seventh Street Athletic Complex.

At the 60-minute mark of the match, Grant Union's Kerry Ashmead beat Viking goal keeper Francisco Valencia with a driving shot in the right corner of the net on a penalty kick good for a 4-3 Prospector lead.

However, with one minute remaining in the match, the officials called a penalty on the Prospectors and Viking Gilibaldo Coria scored the match-tying goal with a shot past goal keeper Cody Boyer.

The tie keeps the Prospectors in contention for a post-season playoff berth with a 1-1-1 record in league matches.

The kids played their hearts out," Grant Union coach Ken Purnell said. "Tactically, we made some adjustments at halftime and I thought we outplayed and outhustled them in the second half. It's just unfortunate we didn't get the outcome we deserved."

Umatilla appeared to be on track for a runaway victory in the first half of the match scoring three quick goals.

Coria netted the first goal at the 15-minute mark and the senior forward upped the Umatilla lead to 2-0 two minutes later off an assist from Alejandro Espinoza.

Jose Rivera, with an assist from Juan Campos, made the score 3-0 in favor of the Vikings with a goal at the 18-minute mark.

After that, Grant Union caught fire.

Kerry Ashmead found the net taking a pass from Kevin Percy to beat Valencia with a shot at the 21-minute mark, and the pair hooked up for a second goal one minute later making the score 3-2.

"The kids showed a lot of character and a lot of poise coming back after falling behind," Purnell said.

The final 19 minutes of the first half belonged to the defense.

Umatilla had a goal waved off on an offside penalty, and late in the half the Prospectors had a chance to tie the score with the Vikings' goal keeper out of position, but were unable to find the net.

The first half ended with Umatilla clinging to a 3-2 lead.

The Prospectors' strong defensive effort carried over into the second half of action, and Grant Union held Umatilla scoreless from the 18-minute mark of the first half until Coria's game-tying goal in the final minute of the contest.

Brody Coxen, off an assist from Danny Cosgrove, tied the score with a goal at the 50-minute mark, setting the stage for Ashmead's penalty kick for the lead three minutes later.

Umatilla outshot Grant Union 21-14 in the match.

Purnell said the Prospectors still have a chance of repeating as Mountain West Conference champions.

"If we win out and take the last three games, we will win the title," he said. "Horizon Christian has a tie against Umatilla, so right now its still up in the air."

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