Normally, three goals is plenty for the Clark College men’s soccer team.
But much about Saturday’s Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges playoff game between the Penguins and Highline Community College of Des Moines was something other than normal.
Highline scored two goals in second-half added time to stun Clark 5-3, earning a spot in the NWAACC semifinals and ending the season for the Penguins.
“At the end of the day, Highline is a well-coached team, a veteran team that got the job done,” Clark coach Biniam Afenegus said.
Clark looked to be in good shape to finish the job when Alcides Thomas scored his second goal of the day in the 83rd minute to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead.
But Highline was effective on set pieces, especially long throw-ins into the attacking penalty area. The tying goal in the 86th minute came on just such a play, and the Thunderbirds went ahead just before the match would have gone into overtime on a goal by Jimmy Oganga.
With Clark pushing forward, Highline added one more goal before the final whistle.
Jerson Megi scored the other goal for Clark, putting the Penguins ahead 2-1 in the 55th minute.
“We were the better team the whole time. We dominated,” Afenegus said. “The only offense they had was they had those throw-ins and set pieces.”
Afenegus noted that Highline, ranked fifth in the final NWAACC coaches, was a tough draw for his second-ranked team in the quarterfinal round. The coach added that the Thunderbirds had more experience playing close games in their division, which might have played into the result.
Clark finished the season with 15 wins, two losses and two ties.