An early goal in the first half set the tone on senior night for the Lehman Lobos Friday as they held off the Anderson Trojans in a 1-0 win.
Lehman earned its 11th district win of the season (11-1-2) and currently is in first place with only two games left.
“It’s a big win, you know just to kind of keep that positive sense going forward,” said Lehman head coach Rene Medina. “Keeping that positive sense going into next week ‘cause next week we got two tough games on the road. Plus, we have a big group of seniors, so it was good for them to get their last home game as a win.”
Lehman junior midfielder Salchicha Beltran scored the go-ahead game winning goal at the 33:06-minute mark in the first half. Beltran used adept dribbling skills to fake out the Trojans goalkeeper to give himself a clear path at the net, where he then nailed the open shot.
“It was nice, it was pretty,” Medina said. “It was nice soccer, man. Pretty soccer to watch.”
The Lobos dominated the first half with precision passing and ball control, while also limiting Anderson to just two shots. But in the second half, Lehman’s struggles on offense put pressure on its defense and gave Anderson multiple scoring opportunities, Medina said. Anderson outshot the Lobos in the second half 14-5, and 5-4 on goal.
“Started strong, we had a lull in the middle of the game, the second half needed to be a lot better,” Medina said. “But then we got a good strong finish, they were able to kind of keep their mental composure. We talk a lot about them being mentally tough.”
Senior goalkeeper Andres Martinez was key for the Lobos in the second half as he had six saves, including a one-on-one save against a Trojan striker on a counter attack where Martinez leaped in the air to save a goal.
“I’ve practiced that play before, the one-on-ones, I go out but then, like, I fake them,” said Martinez. “I go all the way out but then I take steps back and they just shoot right away. That’s when I can counter them and stop the ball.”
Martinez and the Lobo defense have been a strength throughout district play as they have only given up nine goals against them, which is second fewest in the district. With Anderson constantly pressuring in the second half of the match, it was the Lobo defense that came up big to hold on to the 1-0 lead and secure the senior night victory.
Before the game, Lehman honored its 15 seniors; Medina credited success to the consistency shown from his seniors day in and day out.
“I’ve been telling anybody that will listen, they are able to keep consistent and keep each other in check a lot better than a younger group would,” Medina said. “They hold each other accountable, be consistent with what we want them to do and work hard throughout it. It’s just a real good group of seniors, real good character guys. I’m very lucky.”
After a road game against Bowie Tuesday, Lehman then closes the regular season at Akins Friday at 7:45 p.m.