When South goalkeeper Lucas Newman faces a penalty kick, he looks for clues from the shooter.
Newman picked up on the signs from West Valley to make consecutive saves in a penalty-kick round to propel South to a 1-0 win Thursday in the first round of the boys state soccer tournament at Anchorage Football Stadium.
Tied 2-2 after three rounds of penalty kicks, Newman dove to his left to deny Brayden Deweese.
South's Britton Clifford then buried the go-ahead goal -- which proved to be the match-winner -- in the bottom left corner past Wolfpack keeper Chris Wheat.
Newman sealed the victory when he stopped Quinten Cox with a save identical save to the previous one.
"They opened up their hips," Newman said, an indication that Deweese and Quinten intended to beat the keeper to his left. "I just happened to read them right."
As a result, South will play in Friday's semifinals at AFS against Dimond. The Lynx dispatched Juneau 3-0 in a match that began nearly 90 minutes late thanks to two double-overtime matches, including South's marathon against West Valley.
Friday's other semifinal will match Homer, which knocked off Service 3-1, against Colony, a 1-0 winner over Wasilla.
The defending state champion Wolverines received a boost in confidence from the victory over West Valley, Newman said, especially because penalty kicks are unpredictable.
"Anything can happen in PKs," he said.
Losing via penalty kicks is a tough way to drop into the losers bracket at the state championships, but there has to be some way to determine a winner, West Valley coach Howard Maxwell said.
"That was a 50-50 match," he said. "You just have to reload and get ready to go tomorrow."
Maxwell said he was impressed with his entire lineup, especially the back line and Wheat in net.
"I'm not disappointed in the effort the lads put out," he said.
One of Wheat's best saves came in the first half when he knocked down a Talon Stanley free kick that the South freshman curled around a four-man wall.
Prime scoring chances were limited for both teams, and regulation ended in a scoreless tie.
South's Spencer Evans denied one of West Valley's best opportunities when he knocked the ball away with a slide tackle from behind on Norman Rockwell, who had open space in front of him near South's goal.
Overtime rules call for two 10-minute halves followed by two five-minute halves of sudden death should the first overtime not produce a winner.
Penalty kicks follow the sudden-death period.
Colony 1, Wasilla 0
A Ben Atkinson goal scored in the first minute was followed by 79 scoreless minutes in Colony's 1-0 win over Wasilla on Thursday.
Sean Haley earned the shutout for the Knights.
Homer 3, Service 1
Homer scored two second-half goals two minutes apart to earn a 3-1 win over Service on Thursday.
Jake Worsfold scored the match-winner, which was followed quickly by a tally from Max Mangue.
Quinn Daugharty netted the Mariners' first goal to give his team a 1-0 lead.
Freshman Azzam Azzam scored Service's lone goal to make it 1-1 at halftime.
Dimond 3, Juneau 0
Dimond got goals from three players to dispose of Juneau 3-0.
Kyle Stone gave the Lynx a 1-0 halftime lead, which stood until Josh An and Cedarian Brunelle supplied goals six minutes apart near the end of the match.
An scored in the 64th minute and Brunelle struck in the 70th minute.
Reach Mike Nesper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
By MIKE NESPER