Metro Conference Boys Soccer: Grenta clinches ticket to program’s first Metro title game | NE staging area

Defeat a familiar face in Gretna in a whole new location.

The No. 3 Class A Dragons put together a nearly full effort on Monday night, punctuated by a pair of goals in a nine-minute deficit for a 3-0 victory over Omaha Bryan in the semi-finals of the men’s football tournament of the Metro Conference.

The result elevates Gretna into Tuesday’s 7:30 p.m. championship game against second-seeded Papillion-La Vista South, a 2-1 winner over No. 1 Omaha Creighton Prep in Monday’s other semifinal.

This is the first Metro Tournament title match in program history for the Dragons.

“We knew after last year’s fall to Millard North in the semifinals that we knew every team was good in the conference,” Gretna coach Tyler Ortlieb said. “So you have to show up for every game and you have to do things the right way. And for three games in this tournament, we were able to do that. And now we can play in a final tomorrow night.

His side did their job early – securing a 15th-minute goal from Thomas Sowinski – then again late, sending two more into the closing stages.

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In between, Ortlieb felt a little unease against a Bryan side that had beaten the Dragons 2-1 on the same ground at the start of the season.

“I thought we put it all together for about 60 minutes,” he said. “I thought after half-time you could really say we were 1-0 up, scared of making a mistake at the back, so it all started to get big and made us lose our rhythm.”

Sowinski’s trickster from space in the box appeared to be the only goal in Game 5 between the sides in the past two seasons.

But Maguire Perkins headed in a well-placed left-footed bender from Brett Perkins in the 68th minute to double the cushion. Sophomore Michael Stukenholtz then put an end to any doubt with an individual effort just over eight minutes later, collecting a turnover and jumping to the right of a defender before returning to the left with his shot.

“The last 15 minutes,” Ortlieb said, “a lot of guys showed their composure and managed to put the ball in the back of the net.”

It was the final chapter in what quickly became one of the region’s major rivalries. The teams met in the regular season, the Metro Tournament, and the District Tournament a year ago – all tightly contested matches that Gretna eventually won.

The Bears handed Gretna her only loss this season in Week 1.

“They showed up, we didn’t play the first game,” Ortlieb said. “Of course there was a bit of rematch coming tonight. We wanted to make sure we did everything the right way to finally play for a final.

Now they will, securing a head-turning Papillion-La Vista South team by knocking down Prep.

“We’re going to have to do everything we did tonight,” Ortlieb said, “but we’re going to have to do it for 80 minutes.”

Omaha Bryan (5-4) 0 0 – 0

GOALS: G, Thomas Sowinski, Maguire Perkins, Michael Stukenholtz.

BUTTERFLY-LA VISTA SOUTH 2, OMAHA CREIGHTON PREP 1

It wasn’t fancy, but it was really effective.

Papio South coach Dave Lawrence got a little tougher on Monday, earning him a spot in Tuesday’s Metro Conference Championship game.

“We played hard,” Lawrence said after the No. 2-ranked Titans knocked out No. 1 Creighton Prep. “I hadn’t really seen that from those boys yet. We just weren’t as strong a team. But we were tonight.

Derw Darnold gave the Titans the lead just after the ten-minute mark, and teammate Ethan Bichler doubled it with eight minutes to play, heading for a long Cole Anderson free kick for what looked like the winner.

Prep got a goal in the final five minutes from Brady Bragg but failed to equalise.

Lawrence said his team resisted the physical style of the Junior Jays. It was Prep’s first loss of the season.

Papio South is now 9-0 against Class A competition this season, with its only loss to two-time defending Class B champion Omaha Skutt.

The Titans will play for their first Metro crown since 2015, when they beat Prep in the semifinals. It was the last victory against one of the state’s flagship programs, which Lawrence said was not lost on his team.

“They are thrilled,” he said. “Going to the championship game was the icing on the cake, but they were happy to get rid of that monkey.”

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