There were so many close-range shots taken by the Reseda High boys' soccer team in the second half and overtime of the Regents' City Section quarterfinal playoff game against San Pedro that a cloud of dust continually surrounded San Pedro goalkeeper Mike Blazevic.
But when the dust finally cleared, Reseda had claimed a 1-0 victory over the Pirates with a 40-yard free kick that Edwin Miranda blasted between Blazevic's legs with 35 seconds left in the second sudden-death overtime Friday afternoon at Reseda.
"It was a lucky shot," said Miranda, a junior sweeper who took all of the Regents' free kicks.
Reseda made its own luck by taking command in the second half and the overtime periods, when the Regents outshot the Pirates, 19-5, and pelted Blazevic repeatedly from within the penalty area.
For the game, Reseda outshot San Pedro, 28-9. But Blazevic, a 6-foot-3 senior with 11 shutouts going into the game, made 13 saves and was up to the challenge until Miranda's last and best shot.
"It just surprised me," Blazevic said. "It was a bullet. It was kind of embarrassing to me. I was expecting it to bounce--it was supposed to bounce--but it didn't."
Instead, the ball went into the right side of the net, and defending City champion Reseda will head to the semifinals for the third time in five years. The second-seeded Regents (24-3-2) will play either El Camino Real or Belmont, which play Tuesday, in a game Thursday at Reseda.
No. 10-seeded San Pedro, which lost to Reseda, 2-1, in the Hart tournament earlier this season and 3-2 in overtime in the quarterfinals of the playoffs last year, finished 16-5-4.
"But it was a good game," Blazevic said. "At least we gave them a run for their money."
Miranda's goal, his 15th of the season, came after many earlier misses, most by junior forward Jesse Servin, whose best opportunity was on a penalty kick in the first half of overtime at the 88-minute mark.
Servin kicked that shot over the crossbar, and also was high or just wide on nine other attempts before he was ejected for picking up his second yellow card just before Miranda's goal.
He will have to sit out the Regents' next game.
"We created opportunities," Reseda Coach Julio Castillo said.
"We thought we were going to score early, but we just told them not to get frustrated and just keep working."
So the Regents worked overtime and, seconds before the teams would have had to go to a penalty-kick shootout, their efforts paid off.