Lathan Holt makes two game-saving stops in penalty shootout to propel Bearcats to round one playoff win

Published 10:00 pm Friday, April 19, 2024

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Senior goalkeeper Lathan Holt stopped two shots in a sudden-death penalty shootout to lead Bainbridge to a 2-1 (4-2 PKs) victory over Troup County in the first round of the GHSA state playoffs.

Holt stymied the Tigers on their second and third shots, saving one in the bottom left corner and one in the bottom right corner.

“I feel ecstatic,” Holt said after the game. “I’ve always dreamed of being in a PK shootout.”

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Outside of the penalty shootout, the senior keeper made multiple saves to keep the Bearcats in the game. Bainbridge head coach Brian Hill said Holt was a significant piece in the win.

“He had a couple of different great saves,” Hill said. “Then in the PK’s, laying out, causing them to miss. He did a great job.”

Freshman midfielder Junior Miranda scored the Bearcats’ fourth and game-clinching penalty kick. Miranda knew the game was on the line when he walked into the 18-yard box for his shot, yet he didn’t let his nerves get the best of him.

“Probably like a three,” Miranda said when asked how nervous he was on a scale of 1-10. “It was a gamble… who knows if we would have won if I didn’t make it.”

Hill said he was proud of Miranda and the other Bearcats’ poise at the penalty spot. Angel Bonilla-Ortiz, Jose Bonilla-Ortiz and Henry Vanstone also netted penalty kicks in the 4-2 shootout victory.

“It takes a lot of nerves to get up there,” Hill said. “For Junior to come through, especially at the end to win it, I mean, that says a lot about it.”

The game was forced to penalty kicks after the two teams ended regulation and overtime tied 1-1. Sophomore midfielder Angel Bonilla-Ortiz scored the Bearcats’ lone goal in the 35th minute.

The win pushes the Bearcats to the second round of the playoffs, where they will face Wayne County. The 3-seed Yellow Jackets amassed an 11-6 regular season record and a 4A state ranking of 18. The Bearcats are the 10th-ranked 4A team in the state.

The second-round matchup will be played at home on Friday, April 26. Kickoff time is TBD.