Sioux Center boys soccer earns trip to state with 2-1 two-overtime win
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa — Isa Granillo made his last opportunity count.
Granillo, a Sioux Center High School junior, bent in the game-winning goal seconds into the second overtime to give the Warriors a 2-1 win over fifth-ranked Western Christian (14-4) on Dordt University’s Open Space Park football field.
With the win, the Warriors advance to the Class 1A state tournament that begins Thursday in Des Moines, and it’s their first trip to state since 2017.
Granillo’s game-winner seemingly came out of nowhere, as he used his right foot to send the ball past Wolfpack goalkeeper Jeff De Kam, and found the upper right-hand corner to send Sioux Center (13-4) to another state tournament.
Granillo’s nerves flew through his body, wondering if he had made the Warriors’ 12th shot on goal the golden one.
“It wasn’t just me, it was my whole team,” Granillo said. “We never looked down, we just looked up. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, and I love them all. They are my team. I was hoping that ball was going to go in, and really, that goal was for my dad.”
Granillo choked up after the game, thinking of his late father, Efrain Granillo, who passed away a couple years ago.
“It’s really all for him and my family,” Granillo said. “They’re the ones that have been pushing me through all this, they’re my motivation.”
Sure, it’s been hard for Granillo playing without having his father in the stands, but it doesn’t take away from the effort he tries to put forth every match.
“He deserves it, he played his heart out,” Sioux Center senior Freddy Bullock said of Granillo’s game-winning goal.
The Warriors avoided going into penalty kicks for the second consecutive substate final. Last year, Gilbert knocked out Sioux Center in penalty kicks to go to state.
Saturday’s substate final wasn’t the first time this season that the Wolfpack and Warriors needed extra time to decide a match. The two teams knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match.
The two went to penalty kicks April 29 on the Dordt campus, and the Warriors won that game that involved no goals scored in regulation.
On Saturday, however, there were two goals scored in regulation, and both of them came in the first half.
The first goal came with 6 minutes, 44 seconds left in the first half when Bullock cleaned up a rebound shot that De Kam denied. Manny Ramos took the first shot that set up the deflection to Bullock’s goal.
Bullock admitted after the match that he didn’t completely recall how the goal happened.
“It went in the back of the net, and it got us going as a team,” Bullock said. “It got everyone hyped up in the crowd back there. We’ll take it. We played with our hearts out, and that’s all we can do.”
The Wolfpack responded 2:33 later off a header by senior Carter Kooi. The play was set up by a corner kick set up by Kobi Baacam and that far-side corner kick found Kooi wide open to send it past the right-hand side of Zeke Foltz’s reach.
“It was a beautiful header into the corner there,” Western Christian coach Sou Baccam said. “We’ve been successful in that set piece for us. I don’t know how many goals exactly, but he’s had five or six goals that way.”
It was Kooi’s 11th goal of the season, and Baacam recorded his 67th point with the assist. Baccam’s 67 points are the seventh-most in Class 1A.
Foltz said that the Wolfpack do well what the Warriors don’t do well, but both teams played equally throughout the afternoon.
The Warriors’ defense kept up with the Wolfpack offense, as they had 10 shots on goal and nine that were not on goal.
“Every time we play them, it’s a good game,” Foltz said. “We knew defensively that we couldn’t make any mistakes. The two Baccam boys up top, Caleb Dokter, like I said, probably the best offense in the (Lakes) conference, if not in this half of the state.”