West soccer can't find equalizer in playoff loss (video)
April 6, 2013 at midnight
Updated April 5, 2013 at 11:06 p.m.
SEGUIN - One team had 20 wins. The other had four losses. At the end of the night, that fact applied for both teams, and it meant Victoria West's dream season ended in the Class 4A sectional playoffs.
Victoria West (20-4-2) fell to San Antonio Harlandale 2-1 Friday night, as Alejandro Zuniga's goal on a penalty kick proved to be the game winner in the 72nd minute.
Harlandale (20-4-4) exhibited the high pressure and quick passing in the midfield that were staples of Victoria West's play throughout the season. West certainly respected the District 57-4A champions but the Indians were quicker than the Warriors believed.
"They were quick," said West goalkeeper Juanito Gonzalez. "We studied video on them, and I didn't think they were going to be that quick. They got us with the (quick combinations) on the side. They would do a (quick combination) and be past us."
Even in defeat Gonzalez's colorful personality was on display throughout the night.
The junior converted a penalty kick in the 31st minute to tie the game. Throughout the contest, he continued to yell "Texas 80" whenever a 50-50 ball was in the air, continuing an inside joke mocking and mimicking an audible from the Warriors football team that began back in January.
Both teams wanted to dictate the tempo. Harlandale was more successful, unleashing 20 shots, seven of which were on goal. West mustered just nine shots all night.
"We don't play teams like this," said West coach Bill Tally. "You can look at them on video, you can talk to other coaches, but unless you go against it, you don't realize (how quick they are.)
"We play in a tough district with tough teams, but not like that. They don't play that style. The closest thing is (Corpus Christi) Moody, but they don't possess like that. We can usually force teams into turnovers and we couldn't with this group."
Both teams were missing key players. Victor Martinez, Harlandale's leading scorer with 30 goals, didn't play after getting too many yellow cards prior to Friday's matchup. West, though, lost Nathan Hermes with an injury in the 35th minute.
"Victoria West has a great team," said Harlandale head coach Frank Aguilar. "They are quick and they are fast. I thought we had to match their speed and control the ball a little bit better than we had in the past. We touched the ball well and moved it around and that's, what I think helped us out."
The Indians first goal came in the fourth minute when Santos Garza beat Gonzalez to a ball that was chipped over the Warriors defense. Garza held off two defenders and coolly deposited the ball into the goal.
West continued to soak up the pressure into the introduction of Qualian Bryant at center forward late in the first half gave the Warriors an passing outlet. The move quickly paid off when Bryant drew a foul in the penalty area.
Gonzalez deposited his third goal of the season low, right and into the corner to tie the game.
Once the second half kicked off, the Warriors continued to soak up the pressure defensively, but had more chances going forward.
In the 53rd minute, Ernesto Perez got the ball just outside the Indians penalty area. He bore in on goal and fired a right-footed shot from about 8 yards away.
Harlandale goalkeeper Rueben Garcia got a hand on the shot, tipping it over the crossbar for a corner kick. Garcia finished with six saves, but none were tougher than the one to deny Perez.
"It was coming down to that," Aguilar said. "Last week we went to overtime and PKs and I didn't want to go through that again. I thought whoever scored next had a good opportunity to go ahead and win the game."
The opportunity came with eight minutes left. Though the assistant referee flagged for a penalty kick against West, there were no complaints about the call from anyone in red.
Zuniga stepped up, placed his shot low and to the right of Gonzalez to help Harlandale advance beyond the third round of the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
West's Jose Olalde was one of seven seniors who played his final varsity game Friday. It was a conclusion that was difficult to swallow initially, but the co-captain thanked the Warriors supporters and provided perspective about the longest playoff run in the three-year history of the school.
"It was a great season," Olalde said. "At the start of the year I didn't think we would do this well. I'm proud of my team. They did great. We had 20 wins, four losses and two ties. I couldn't have asked for a better season. I'm just really happy. It's been great."