Metropolitan Community College-Blue River men’s soccer coach Dave Owens was getting nervous.

With his team tied 1-1 with St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, he didn’t want to see his team go to a shootout in Tuesday’s NJCAA Region XVI quarterfinal at Blue River.

Metropolitan Community College-Blue River men’s soccer coach Dave Owens was getting nervous.
With his team tied 1-1 with St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, he didn’t want to see his team go to a shootout in Tuesday’s NJCAA Region XVI quarterfinal at Blue River.
“I was extremely nervous,” Owens said. “We didn’t want it to go to penalty kicks because we were dominating the game. When it goes to penalty kicks, anything can happen and a lot of the time the better team doesn’t win. And their goalkeeper was playing well so psychologically I was worried he would be in our guys’ heads.”
Blue Springs South High School graduate Zane Christenson took care of all that. Making a diagonal run and getting a pinpoint pass from Lee’s Summit North grad David Sievers, Christensen buried the game-winner into the lower left corner of the net with about 30 seconds left in the second overtime to lift the Trail Blazers to a 2-1 victory and a berth in Friday’s semifinals.
“I was relieved,” Owens said. “You don’t want it to come down to PKs when you definitely have the superior team.”
Owens said the Forest Park coach had given up trying to score on his team to force the shootout.
“We were clearly the better team, and you could tell they were trying to do nothing but defend to get it to PKs,” Owens said. “Their coach kept yelling, ‘Defend the goal; get back on defense,’ and I was yelling, ‘We need to get more shots on goal and get the ball in the net.’ And it worked out for us in the end. But give credit to them because I might have tried to do the same thing with their team.”
Christenson made it happen.
“He had fantastic timing,” Owens said of the former Jaguar, who leads the Trail Blazers in points with nine goals and nine assists. “Everyone mobbed Zane after he scored. It was just a very good victory for us.”
Van Horn graduate Yacine Hamchaoui booted in the first goal for Blue River (11-5-1) about midway through the first half, capping a strong run past a host of Forest Park defenders by Oak Park graduate Michael Brennan.
“Michael made a great run past four or five of their guys, made a good pass to Yacine and he knocked it in,” Owens said of the goal, Hamchaoui’s team-leading 10th of the season.
Forest Park, though, tied it just before halftime, knocking in a rebound of Blue River goalkeeper Jeremy Herrman.
But Herrman and the defense kept it scoreless from there to force the two 10-minute overtimes.
Blue River advances to Friday’s Region XVI semifinals. The Trail Blazers will play host to the region semifinals and finals at Excelsior Springs High School. Blue River plays at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. Friday, depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s other quarterfinals.