by MOSES A. LEAL III
From the opening minute, Hays’ Boys Soccer team came out with aggression and fluidity.
Hays’ aggressive style allowed the team to take a 4-0 halftime lead, en route to a 5-1 victory over Crockett in both squads’ opening match of the 2013 Rebel Cup Thursday.
Hays began the match with constant pressure on the Cougar back line. Led by Senior Forward Christian Varela, the Rebel attack deftly moved down the field, accurately completing passes.
As a result, the Rebels were on the board quickly, as Varela drilled a 10-yard shot with just four minutes elapsed in the contest. A few minutes later, Christian Chavez scored his first of three goals on the day, as he took advantage of a Crockett miscue, gathered his emotions and placed in the goal.
“(The shot) was a rebound from the goalie,” Chavez said. “I got it with my left (foot). It barely got in. I feel pretty good about it, though.”
By the time Crockett knew what had occurred, the Rebels were already ahead 2-0. Hays’ unrelenting offense made the lead seem much larger. Rebel Midfielder Xavier Garcia attributed the success to the team’s ability to elongate the defense.
“We tried to spread out, so that nobody was bunched up, ” Garcia said. “(Crockett) were not pressuring as much, so it (allowed) good shots.”
Hays coach Jason Burnett talked about constantly configuring the Rebel offense to enable success.
“What we’re trying to do in the tournament is work a bunch of different systems,” Burnett said. “Just try to find out what shoe fits best. We rolled through four different formations throughout the match.”
Defensively, Hays showcased an ability to keep with their opponent, staying in stride and disallowing fluid movements. While there were a few breakdowns, the Rebels did enough to post a shutout in the first 40 minutes.
Highlighting the first half was a riveting 25-yard blast by Garcia with five minutes left, which found the back of the goal.
“Well, (John Hinnekamp) was walking up to the side, so I called, ‘John, John! Outside! Outside’ He turned, looked outside. I saw his pass, took the shot. It went right under the goalies hands, under the post. Good shot, good shot,” Garcia added.
The second half saw Hays maintain defensive discipline, ensuring that Crockett would not rally a comeback. While the Cougars scored in the 31st minute, the Rebel defense continued to play sound all day.
The final goal of the day came from Chavez, who completed his hat trick with eight minutes to go in the game.
“It was pretty good. This was our first real game,” Chavez simply stated.
Overall, Burnett was pleased with the effort, but stressed the need to progress.
“I thought the kids did well. I felt a little better in the second half, our penetration to split the defense,” Burnett said. “But we saw some good things out of them. We’re not quite getting the movement I would like see out of them up front yet. But then again, they are young, they’re coming along.”
Hays’ victory earns them the top spot in Pool 1 of the Rebel Cup. Next game for Hays will be Friday morning at 10 a.m. against Akins.