Ninety-three minutes and 55 seconds of boys soccer wasn’t enough time to determine a winner between Whiteland and Greenwood on Monday.
But then Warriors senior Lalen Ralte got the ball in the clear, and time stood still.
Ralte, a senior, right-footed the winning goal past Woodmen goalkeeper Damon Maynard with five seconds remaining in the second overtime for a dramatic 2-1 win at the Class 2A sectional at Center Grove.
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Warriors players rejoiced. Some of Greenwood’s lay motionless on the field, heartbroken by the cruel turn of events.
Officials called for seven seconds to be put back on the scoreboard clock, though it wasn’t enough time for the Woodmen to counter.
The victory advances Whiteland to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. second semifinal against Franklin Community. Martinsville battles the host Trojans in the 5 p.m. match.
Ralte’s winner broke what had been a 1-1 deadlock since 16:05 of the first half.
“I was so nervous,” said Ralte about the biggest few seconds of his soccer career. “I was like, ‘What if I didn’t score?’ (Maynard) is really good. He’s the best goalkeeper I’ve ever seen.”
Maynard dove to his left, but Ralte’s delivery was just beyond his reach.
Whiteland opened the scoring at 20:37 of the opening half when junior Kevin Sandhu scored off an assist from Shawn Sullivan. Greenwood countered shortly thereafter when sophomore forward Cole Mahin’s free kick resulted in a header from senior forward Jonatan Sanchez.
Both squads had other opportunities as the match progressed, but were off the mark.
Neither team scored during the first seven-minute overtime session. It appeared the same would happen the second OT until Ralte found himself with the ball in his possession.
“That’s the best Greenwood team I’ve seen in a long time,” Whiteland coach Justin VanHorn said. “Both teams pushing it to the wire. Guys are exhausted. It was a juggernaut. A good game with both teams playing their hearts out.
“We were just lucky enough to be on the end of that last one. I just had my fingers crossed because I know their goalkeeper is an excellent player. I knew he was going to make the save, but he just didn’t get fingertips to it.”