West soccer holds off East for district crown
March 19, 2013 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated March 19, 2013 at 10:20 p.m.
Pierce Breech summed up the mood for the team in red Tuesday night.
After Victoria West beast Victoria East 1-0 to claim the District 59-4A soccer championship, the sophomore wanted to see the trophy.
"Oh wait, let me touch it," Breech begged West coach Bill Tally. "Oh, my goodness, I'm a better soccer player."
Tally may be the best judge of that. What is irrefutable is the Warriors (18-2-2, 9-1-1) won the first district soccer championship in the school's three-year history.
"I just can't describe it," said West left fullback Isai Martinez. "It's amazing. This is our first district championship and it's my senior year, which makes it better. I don't know, it just cannot be better."
West controlled possession for the first half hour, but was not able to get the pivotal first goal. Hector Mendoza had a chance on the volley in the 33rd minute, but his shot was wide.
The Warriors didn't make that mistake again when the opportunity arose.
Edward Rodriguez swung in a cross from the right side in the 36th minute to Ernesto Perez, who took a touch before firing a shot low and across the body of the East goalkeeper for the game's only goal.
East head coach Bobby Ramos said a pair of defensive mistakes allowed Rodriguez to squirt free on the wing and that is what led to the goal.
Six of the seven editions of this local rivalry have been decided by a single goal. The other contest was a scoreless tie. East (3-17-2, 1-9-1) has lost three straight in the series.
"It's the main game and everyone gives it everything they've got," Rodriguez said when asked why this rivalry is always so close. "It's the most important game of the year."
Martinez remembers the Titans clinching the 2012 district championship with a victory over West. To return the feeling was sweet, he said.
"We gave it our all and they gave it their all," he said. "They are a tough team to beat. We are just better this time. This year, we are better."
Tally was so composed at one point in the second half he stood against the fence on the far sideline at Memorial Stadium for a few moments as Eric Robinson calmly passed the ball throughout the midfield.
"I have to give West all the credit," Ramos said. "They came out and executed a game plan. That said, I'm very proud of my guys. Come graduation we will be stronger. We're one of the few teams where graduation will help and not hinder. I am proud of David (Andrade) and Pablo (Aviles) for the leadership they showed. My only regret is we couldn't get them a win in their last home game."
Next year will probably be better for the Titans. But this year belongs to the senior-laden Warriors.
"We've grown up playing together," said West's Rodriguez. "We've experienced the ups and downs together. We know how to play like a team."
EAST 2, WEST 1
Liz DiSanto made 13 saves, but even she could not have stopped Rachel Mansker's penalty kick from going into the side netting Tuesday night. Victoria East used the Mansker goal with seven minutes left as the game winner against Victoria West, 2-1.
The Titans (16-5-1, 9-2) took 32 shots on the night, but could not beat DiSanto in the West goal for more than an hour. Destinee Kueker's right-footed shot in the 66th minute opened the scoring for East.
Soon after West (9-9-2, 4-5-2) took advantage of its only corner kick of the second half.
Sarah Warner's corner was mishandled by the East goalkeeper and the Warriors were level with 11 minutes remaining.
The Titans win means their hopes for the 59-4A championship are still alive.
Should West beat Gregory-Portland Friday night at Memorial Stadium, then the Titans will be district champions.