Van Horn settles for fourth place at state after Glendale's late goal

Bill Althaus
The Examiner
The Van Horn boys soccer team players pose with their fourth-place state medals after a 3-2 loss to Springfield Glendale in the Class 3 state third-place match Saturday.

FENTON, Mo. — When this season started, Van Horn boys soccer coach Jesus Rodriguez told his Falcons, which included 14 seniors and first-year goalie Levi Carter, "This is your season. Go make the most of it." 

And they did – all the way to the Class 3 final four at World Wide Technology Soccer Park. 

However, a dream season did not have the ending Rodriguez and his team had hoped for as Springfield Glendale edged the Falcons 3-2 Saturday in the state third-place game. 

"It was tough losing the first game (a 4-1 semifinal loss to Fort Zumwalt South) and coming back and playing the third-place game because our boys were heartbroken," Rodriguez said of his team, which finished 17-9-1. 

"But I became the crazy coach before the (third-place) game, running around, doing my best to get them excited, to get them pumped up, and they were excited to play. We just lost to a very good Glendale team." 

Glendale jumped to a 2-0 lead. Cayden Meyer, who later earned a red card, scored in the 27th minute. Andrei Balanean then scored just 25 seconds into the second half. 

Jorge Venegas scored both goals for the Falcons to tie it. He got his first off an assist from Kobe Otano in the 56th minute to make it 2-1. He tied it in the 67th minute off a feed from Bairon Aguilera. 

Glendale, though, broke the 2-all tie when Cung Nawl scored an unassisted goal about two minutes after Venegas’ second goal. 

"We had four defenders on their lone forward late in the game and somehow he managed to get past them all and score," Rodriguez said. "It was not the fault of Levi, because everyone sees the goal get past him, but their forward had to get past every one of our players before he could take that shot. 

"It was unfortunate, but I am so proud of this team. We have been to the final four twice in the past four years and have still not won a game, but we came close this year. And I told our boys after the game how proud I was of them, and how proud everyone at Van Horn High School is of them."