When Lehman Lobo Noah Marquez saw the soccer ball hit the back of the net Saturday, he didn’t hesitate in literally going head-over-heels to celebrate.
Marquez’ goal, scored eight minutes into the match, was enough to lift the Lobos (10-2-3, 5-0-2) to a 1-0 win over the Bowie Bulldogs and keep its unbeaten district mark intact. Lehman, now on a four-game win streak, draws into a tie for first place with Lake Travis as the second round of district play starts Friday.
Staying in the chase for a district title, and a possible playoff berth, is the goal for Marquez and his teammates.
“We are going to stay up on everyone. We know we have a target on our backs now,” Marquez said. “We have to buy in and work hard.”
Lehman head coach Rene Medina said defending Bowie ball-handlers early and often paid dividends for the entire match. Marking off of Bowie’s first touch of the ball, then providing quick pressure “established the rhythm of play” the Lobos wanted.
Meanwhile, organization in the back half of the field and “defending in units” prevented Bowie from orchestrating scoring chances in the first half.
“They buy in and they get after it,” Medina said.
Adept play in the midfield helped Lehman maintain control of the ball for most of the game. The Lobos did so against a Bowie team that was physical and forced the Lobos to fight for possession, Marquez said.
Lehman garnered several early scoring chances before Marquez succeeded in the 32nd minute of the first half.
Marquez was the beneficiary of a rebound that came via a save by the Bowie goalkeeper. Marquez followed by drilling a shot within the six-yard box to score the goal. Lehman led 1-0 at intermission.
The Lobos held off Bowie in the final 40 minutes, which included several key saves from Lobo goalkeeper Andres Martinez.
Medina said playing physical and responding to intensity are key traits as the Lobos push forward in district play.
“We’re going to be in big games as we go along and we need to learn how to compete in those big games,” Medina said.
Lehman travels to play at Austin High Feb. 15 and at Westlake Feb. 22. The Lobos return home Feb. 26 to play Lake Travis.