WACO — Nathan Diederich felt it. So did Ellison boys soccer coach Niles Dunnells.
Sometimes, though, shots just hit the crossbar.
Diederich’s second-half header bounced off the crossbar and Duncanville countered with a cushion goal to ended the Eagles’ first playoff trip in 12 years with a 2-0 win in a Region I-5A bi-district playoff game Friday at Waco ISD Stadium.
“Who knows what happens if that goes in,” Dunnells said of Diederich’s shot. “But, sometimes, they find the post. That’s the nature of soccer.”
Duncanville (18-3-4) scored both of its goals in the second half and outshot the Eagles 20-7 in the game.
Ellison (16-7-1) trailed 1-0 when Diederich missed his header midway through the second half and Duncanville’s Eric Campos scored the Panthers’ second goal less than a minute and a half later in the 64th minute.
“I saw it and I just tried to flick it in. It had the power, it just hit the crossbar. Just unlucky,” Diederich said of his shot.
“That’s pretty heart-breaking. It’s either 1-1 or 2-0 and you want it 1-1 so bad it’s just hard to deal with.”
Luis Benavides scored the go-ahead goal in the 46th minute for Duncanville, which plays Flower Mound, a 4-1 winner over Irving Nimitz, in an area-round game next week at a date, time and site yet to be determined.
“I just can’t be prouder of these guys and the effort they put out here on this field. They put it all out here tonight,” Dunnells said. “Credit Duncanville for finding the net. We hung in there, we played hard, we just didn’t find the net.”
Ellison possessed the ball, the Panthers attacked, but neither scored in the first half.
Duncanville took two shots on goal in the opening 10 minutes and eight shots total in the first 40 minutes, but Eagles senior goallie Matthew Charlton had three saves and Ellison’s senior-led defense helped keep the Panthers scoreless in the first half.
But the Eagles’ offense produced just two just shots in the first half and missed a pair of golden header opportunities.
“We didn’t come after the ball. We weren’t the aggressor. We weren’t the aggressive team. We hit the post,” Diederich said. “They finished their chances and we didn’t.”
Diederich and Bryan Myszka both missed the ball entirely going up for header chances inside the box during a 10-minute stretch midway through the firt half.
The Eagles were more aggressive in the second half, but were still unable to put the ball in the net. Ellison had five shots in the second half, but none after Diederich’s missed header with 16:23 to go.
Benavidas’ goal was Duncanville’s first shot of the second half. The Panthers took 12 shots in the second half and Charlton finished with six saves.
“The game could’ve gone either way,” Dunnells said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this group of guys and what they’ve set the bar at for Ellison soccer.”