David Mitzner didn’t just make one improbable save on the penalty kick. He made two.
The Servite boys’ soccer team was in a scoreless tie against Hebron High School from Carrollton, Texas in the quarterfinals of the North Texas Elite Showcase over Christmas break when Mitzner was forced to defend a penalty kick in the final minute of regulation.
Mitzner guessed that the opponent would aim for the right side of the net. He dove that direction just as the Hebron player made contact with the ball, but the shot was directed more towards the center.
No problem for Mitzner, who used his outstretched legs to stop the shot.
The ball came back out to the Hebron player, however, and he had a large open section of the net to shoot toward. Mitzner stuck out his right leg again, and the follow-up shot slammed off his shin and caromed far out of play, preserving the 0-0 score.
Following a scoreless overtime period, Dean Hirsch, Xavier Pineda, Jesus Melgoza and Ryan Kay made their penalty kicks in the shootout, lifting the Friars to the 4-3 win. They ultimately advanced to the championship game, where they lost 3-1.
Mitzner’s back-to-back saves were the highlight of the four-day trip to Texas from Jan. 1-4, but the experience also provided just the right method of preparation heading into Servite’s Trinity League opener.
Furthermore, the Friars were able to further bond while spending long stretches between games together, enjoying their momentum-building success in the meantime.
The Friars know they’ll be up against even tougher competition in their quest to capture a seventh straight league title.
Look no further than Mater Dei, JSerra and Santa Margarita, which also enjoyed plenty of success during the nonleague portion of their schedules.
The Monarchs reached the final of the SoCal Invitational tournament before losing 1-0 to Los Alamitos at Oceanside High School on Dec. 30.
JSerra got off to a 6-0 start heading into the league play, outscoring its opponents 31-4 in those games.
Santa Margarita had three consecutive shutouts to highlight its nonleague schedule. The Eagles reached the semifinals of the Hawks Invitational in Laguna Hills before losing 3-0 to Manhattan Beach Mira Costa on Dec. 27.
The Santa Margarita girls’ team won the SoCal Classic tournament with a 3-0 victory against San Clemente on Dec. 31. Gianna Christiansen scored two goals for the Eagles.
JSerra remains the girls’ team to beat in the Trinity League, however, and the Lions opened league play with s 3-1 win against Santa Margarita on Jan. 4.
Mater Dei also faced off against San Clemente in a tournament final and came away with a 2-0 win to take first in the Mater Dei Premier Invitational on Dec. 14.
The Monarchs didn’t fare as well in the Excalibur Tournament in the days following Christmas. Mater Dei lost to Huntington Beach in the quarterfinals, a team the Monarchs had beaten at the Mater Dei Invitational earlier in the month.
Mater Dei came back to win its league opener on Jan. 4, beating Orange Lutheran 1-0.
Rosary defeated Ocean View 2-0 on Dec. 14 to win the Ocean View Winter Classic. The Royals also travelled to Arizona between Christmas and New Year’s Day and went 1-0-2 against strong teams from the area.