Back on October 12, the Ladue High and Clayton High boys soccer teams played one of their typical thrilling Suburban East Conference matchups that had to be settled in overtime penalty kicks.
So it was a surprise to no one on Thursday, when the Rams and Greyhounds battled for the MSHSAA Class 2 District 5 championship at MICDS High School's Hawes Field, that it would once again be decided in PKs.
"It's always like this when we play," Ladue head coach Matt Prange said. "It's a great rivalry. The kids always get into it, and it was great out here again tonight."
Once it concluded, things were great for Prange and crew -- not so much for Clayton coach Tom Redmond and his Greyhounds -- as Ladue scored on all three of its penalty kicks and held Clayton to just one make on four tries, to claim the district championship victory over its archrivals.
"This is amazing. Just unbelievable," Ladue goalkeeper Eric Stuber, who made a pair of incredible saves during the penalty kick round to secure victory for the Rams.
"Everybody just jumped on top of me. I got elbowed in the head, and somebody got me in the lip, but it's OK. It was just an amazing win for us."
Body blows aside, Stuber deserved all the adulation, after diving to stop both of Clayton's final two penalty kick attempts.
He went wide right to get a shot by Clayton's Peter Roman, then after Ladue teammate Michael Kelly slammed home the Rams' third PK make, Stuber dove to his left to deny a shot by the Greyhounds' Troy Villani.
"They call him 'The Real Deal', and he was that for us today," Prange said. "He's a terrific keeper. The way he controls the game and makes big saves for us, it's phenomenal. I'm proud for him and his teammates. This was a great win for us."
The victory, which lifted Ladue to 16-5-1 this year, means the Rams will now advance to the Class 2 state sectionals, where they will face District 6 champion Parkway Central on Tuesday, November 6, at Central's at PCH Stadium in Chesterfield.
Scoring Summary ... 1 ... 2 ... 1OT . 2OT ... PKs -- Final
Clayton ................... 0 ... 0 ..... 0 ..... 0 ....... 1 .. -- 0
Ladue ..................... 0 ... 0 ..... 0 ..... 0 ....... 3 .. -- 1