by JOSHUA YOUNG
With both teams hungry for a victory, the Lehman High boys soccer team stepped onto Lobo field to face second-place Cedar Creek. The first half was definitely a physical match as both teams attempted to play their own style of play. But in the end, the Lobos pounded their opponents’ net with enough shots on goal that one finally hit the back of the net. It was to be the only goal of the game, giving Lehman a 1-0 win.
Each game from now on is important as Lehman looks to maintain its unbeaten season and the lead in District 49-4A.
Midfielders Bryan Percastegui and Rene Torres each had shots at the goal while Eli Guajardo had several opportunities to get a ball on net in the first half, only to be stifled by the Eagle defense. The Lehman backline of Victor Bravo, Edward Vargas, Manuel Diego, and Michael Diers kept Cedar Creek’s offense from getting any easy chance at goal. The first half ended in a stalemate, 0-0.
The second half opened with both sides seeing shots sail wide and high over the net. Guajardo missed wide left with 21 minutes to go and Torres had another hit knocked out by the Eagles’ keeper.
With only 4:30 left in the game, Guajardo dribbled up the left side, crossed the ball toward the middle to midfielder Joao Reyes who then found Fabian Mantillla in front of the box. Mantilla looked to shoot, then pulled it back to his left foot, striking the ball low to the right side of goal past the keeper and into the net.
Junior midfielder Mantilla is the Lobo known for stepping up in big situations.
“I knew we had to do something because time was running out and we needed a goal. Someone had to find the ball and put it in the back of the net, and when Eli and Joao gave me that opportunity, I made sure to take advantage of it,” he said after the game.
Lehman now needed to maintain defensive pressure to secure a win. Cedar Creek threatened as the clock moved inside two minutes, but Lobos keeper Mikey Torres preserved the victory by making an acrobatic diving save to his right to maintain the shutout.
The Lobos were relieved to escape with a 1-0 tally, adding three more points to their district total. Due to injuries, Lehman had to shift players around in their lineup, but were able to survive the late barrage by the Eagles. Lehman head coach Jay Sansom was pleased with the way the players responded to the lineup changes.
“We had a couple guys who had to move around and play out of position, so a lot of people had to step up and help out tonight.”
The Lobos now look forward to a rematch with Hays at 7:45 p.m. Friday night at the Lobos’ home field. Each game from here on out means just a little more as Lehman looks to maintain their unbeaten season and lead in district 49-4A.
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