The postseason didn’t change the winning formula for the Grand Island Senior High boys soccer team.
Just like in the regular season, goals from Javier Baide and a strong defensive effort were common denominators when the Islanders exited the Memorial Stadium field victorious Saturday.
This time, Baide scored twice and goalkeeper Danny Rendon recorded a clean sheet in a 3-0 blanking of Omaha Northwest in a Class A, District 4 semifinal.
That moved the Islanders into the district final against fourth-seeded Columbus, which posted a shocking 1-0 overtime win over top-seeded and No. 4-rated Omaha Creighton Prep.
That upset allows Grand Island to play at home one final time Thursday at 7 p.m. for the right to advance to the state tournament in Omaha.
“I can honestly tell you I went to watch Prep play last week to scout them, and I thought Columbus would give them a heck of a game,” Islanders coach Jeremy Jensen said. “Obviously it turned out that way.
“For us, that’s our goal at the very beginning of the year – we want to be playing district games at home. To know that’s where we’re at right now is pretty gratifying. With that being said, I told the kids not to celebrate. We’re only partway there. We have a little bit of familiarity with Columbus, and they’re going to be a really tough team for us. We have to prepare accordingly.”
After some early close calls, the Islanders (9-5) went ahead at 14:54. Baide got free in the box and sent a 10-yard shot low into the net past goalkeeper Wiseman Htoo.
The score remained 1-0 until early in the second half. Diego Salas worked his way around a pair of defenders around 30 yards out before passing to his left to find an open Baide, who converted for his second goal at 46:13.
Baide has 24 of the Islanders’ 45 goals this season.
“It’s definitely nice to know that we have Javy and nobody else does that we’re playing against,” Jensen said. “He put on the show again today. His work rate is phenomenal, his finishing is phenomenal. I wish he would be a little more consistent, but you take that with the greatness that he provides.
“You see him hammer balls off the post, and he’s just an electric player. So having him work with Diego up top, our focus has been on solidifying the defense and today Jalen (Jensen) and Beto (Lindiman) did a nice job of keeping everything under control in the back end.”
Jalen Jensen won the battle for a corner kick in the box to give the Islanders a 3-0 cushion over the Huskies (9-9) at 60:59.
They were able to pick up the win despite still missing some key pieces.
“Senior night we lose two senior co-captains,” Jeremy Jensen said. “Jose (Bermudez) we lost to an ACL and Tony (Acosta) we lost to a hamstring. Tony was iffy and maybe could have played this game, but I wanted to hold him out as long as we could.
“We have to get him back. He has to be the centerpiece of our midfield because he has to be that connecting point between the back line and the attack. So we hope to have him when we do play.”
Having four more days to recover will be a plus for Acosta and the Islanders, who defeated Columbus 4-0 on April 5.