SIOUX CITY — George Tsiobanos didn't try to think about the big moment that sat in front of him Tuesday night at Memorial Field.
The Bishop Heelan High School freshman hit the golden goal just 70 seconds into the overtime period against West, and the Crusaders beat the Class 3A fourth-ranked Wolverines 2-1 in overtime.
West goalkeeper Cesar Vasquez was called for a foul early in the overtime period, and since the foul happened near the goal, the Crusaders were awarded a penalty kick.
Tsiobanos' job was to kick the potential game-winner, and he picked a side of the goal, and stuck with it.
Tsiobanos went with his left-hand side, figuring Vasquez was going to lean to his left.
Vasquez did leap to his right, but his arms could not catch Tsiobanos' shot, ending a five-game losing streak for the Crusaders.
"I just looked one side and hoped he'd dive that way and he didn't," Tsiobanos said. "I tried not to look where I was going. Hard pass to the corner, don't overshoot it, you can never miss too low."
West opened up the scoring with a Jamie Perez rocket of a goal with 9 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first period.
The Wolverines held onto that lead, until freshman Alejandro Gonzalez scored near the net with 17:21 left in regulation. He left the pitch due to an injury after that. Gonzalez is said to be fine, according to Heelan coach Pat Herbst.
He was the one who had the game-winner against East a couple weeks ago.
Heelan was working through a few things throughout the losing streak. Confidence was high on that list.
The Crusaders are a young team. They've got just one senior on their roster — Brayden Pratt, who plays midfielder — and Herbst plays several freshmen and sophomores.
The Cruasders hadn't won since beating the Black Raiders on April 20, after Gonzalez hit that game-winner late.
"Kids are resilient, and that's the point of it," Herbst said. "I keep telling them every practice is a new practice and every game is a new game. They're resilient, and they can have outcomes like this."
Most of those losses are against teams that have rosters full of seniors, including West.
The Crusaders were able to prove they can play with the older bunches among the Missouri River Conference.
"They've had a rough-go of it during the last couple of weeks, so we're glad that they could play hard and compete," Herbst said. "We were lucky to come out on top. We could have easily folded like we did a couple of other times this season. But, they didn't. All the credit goes to the boys."
West was handed its first loss of the season. The Crusaders won just their third of the 2021 campaign.
The Wolverines had won their first nine games, but coach Gary Fuentes decided to play in a 3-2-3-2 scheme.
The Wolverines felt they were comfortable with that old formation. The team worked inside that formation the last couple of days.
When the match started, Fuentes didn't think his team settled quickly into the 3-2-3-2, allowing Heelan to create some momentum and even stick around during the second half.
A couple of the West defenders could be heard during the match, pleading for their teammates to pick up with intensity and production.
"We didn't communicate out there well tonight," Fuentes said. "A lot of 50-50 balls in the middle we did not win. A couple bad touches. It was not our night.
"I'm upset we didn't come out to play like we were supposed to," Fuentes added. "We did not execute on the ball. Heelan played well. They outplayed us."
Communication and tempo have been keys toward West's success this season. The Wolverines are third in the MRAC in goals scored with 27, behind Sergeant Bluff-Luton (46) and Council Bluffs Lincoln (30).
The Wolverines lead the metro teams with 51 saves.
"Right now, we are not where we need to be," Fuentes said. "At some point, myself, (assistant) coach (Chris) Conley can scream all we want on directions, but they needto execute it out there on the field."
The Wolverines have played just one home game among the 10 this season, and that came in an April 13 win over the Black Raiders. They've been away from their Riverside Elementary School home pitch in almost a month.
Fuentes agreed West's schedule isn't ideal, but he's looking forward to playing more home matches in 2022.