By Evan Ren
Killeen Daily Herald
On the one hand, the Ellison boys soccer team can now rejoice that it controls its own destiny after Friday's 1-0 (3-2) shootout win over Killeen.
On the other hand, it now faces the task of having to beat league-leading Hewitt Midway on the road Monday to secure its first playoff berth since 2001.
If Ellison fails in that endeavor and Killeen defeats Mexia on the same evening, it will be the Kangaroos who will earn the third and final District 17-4A playoff spot.
"Obviously, Midway is a very strong team," said Ellison coach Niles Dunnells, whose team broke a school record for wins in a season while improving to 13-9-1 on the year. "We'll just go in and play and if the guys play they way they did tonight, we can compete with them."
Jonathan Toro found the left corner of the net to break a 2-2 tie in the shootout, just moments after Killeen goalkeeper Robert Mueller had knotted the score.
The loss dropped Killeen to 13-10 overall and 10-5 in league play.
"There were a lot of opportunities which we just didn't capitalize on," Killeen coach James Gay said. "I felt like we played well in the second half and created a lot of chances.
"I got frustrated trying to count them all."
Several of those chances came in the last 20 minutes of the game, a stretch of time which saw Killeen's Brian Wood, Marvin Bautista and J.T. Jones all foiled by Ellison goalkeeper A.J. Shiller on point-blank shot attempts.
The Eagles produced several late opportunities of their own, with Osarumwese Amadin, Ho-Yeul Lee and Toro all being turned back by Mueller. Another Ellison chance, perhaps its best, came with 9:02 left when Toro hit the crossbar from 20 yards out.
In all, Ellison outshot Killeen 25-14.
"Ellison plays good defensive soccer," Gay said. "If you look back over district, they've really limited the number of goals scored against them."
That may be an understatement.
With the score tied at 0 heading into the shootout, Ellison extended its school record for shutouts in regulation time to 15.
"We came up big defensively," Dunnells said. "That's been our thing all year and tonight they got the job done again."
Other goal scorers in the shootout were Chris Meyer and Jimmy Rodgers for Ellison, and Christopher Garcia for Killeen.
Contact Evan Ren at firstname.lastname@example.org