Opportunity knocked repeatedly for the Simi Valley High boys' soccer team Friday.
But the Pioneers never answered when they had their chances during regulation play of a Southern Section 4-A Division quarterfinal match at Simi Valley, and they didn't answer during two overtime periods, either.
So, finally, unranked Fountain Valley took advantage of its penalty-kick opportunities and slammed the door in the Pioneers' faces, defeating eighth-ranked Simi Valley, 1-0, on penalty kicks after 80 minutes of regulation play and two 10-minute overtimes ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
The Pioneers were the ones left with stale taste in their mouths after Fountain Valley's Peter Staffa converted the clinching penalty kick on a shot just to the right of the outstretched hand of Simi Valley goalkeeper John Petritz.
Simi Valley trailed, 3-2, when Staffa made the shot that gave Fountain Valley a 4-2 lead and the match. The Pioneers still had one kick left and would have had a chance to tie the Barons had Staffa missed.
In this case, the Pioneers would have preferred a sudden-death shoot-out to the sudden death of their season.
"It's not like we lost the game," Petritz said. "They beat us on penalty kicks, and they have to end the match somehow. That's the way they decide the game."
The Pioneers, however, couldn't help wishing the match had been decided in their favor.
"The penalty kick, you know, people say it's supposed to be the easiest shot in soccer," Simi Valley's David Luzuriaga said. "But I think it's actually one of the most difficult, because of all the pressure."
Luzuriaga was one Pioneer who succumbed to the pressure, missing on Simi Valley's third penalty kick attempt. Fountain Valley goalie Tim Morenc blocked Luzuriaga's attempt, and Jeff Spach missed wide right on another Pioneer attempt.
Simi Valley, which had won its second-round playoff game on penalty kicks, finished with a record of 19-7-2. Fountain Valley (16-5-4) advances to the semifinals against Newbury Park, which scored a 2-1 win over Damien on Friday.
The Pioneers had their chances to win Friday's match in regulation, as they outshot the Barons, 17-10, in the game and, 7-1, in the first half.