East boys get back on track
Feb. 29, 2012 at 5 a.m.
Updated Feb. 28, 2012 at 8:29 p.m.
The inside position to the district soccer crown was at stake Tuesday night and Victoria East immediately provided a statement of intent with an early goal.
Captain Cole Fimbel scored on a free kick in the first five minutes as the Titans were able to dispatch Gregory-Portland 3-1 at Memorial Stadium.
A year ago the Wildcats beat the Titans twice en route to the District 59-4A championship. East (13-2-1, 6-1-1 district) wanted to return the favor, and take control of the tiebreaker with Gregory-Portland with four district games remaining.
The Titans tinkered with their lineup Tuesday night as they wrestled control of the district race. Senior Shai Beltran started in the midfield for the Titans, while Fimbel moved to forward.
"I thought we were first to the ball a lot of the night," said East head coach Tim Eaton. "The game was won in midfield with Shai and Casey (Brown) and Joel (Gonzales). I thought Marco Segura applied a lot of pressure up top and he compliments Cole. Cole draws opponents like bees on honey and he tends to do that. It was a team effort."
After weeks of begging head coach Tim Eaton to let him move from defense to midfield, Beltran got his chance in arguably the most important game of the season.
"I knew G-P is a hard team. They have a very good team," Beltran said. "I said 'Coach give me a chance so Cole can get forward' I know he can score a lot of goals and that's was the whole point."
Gregory-Portland fell to 6-2 in District 59-4A play. The Wildcats were unable to get too many scoring chances in the penalty area, because Beltran shielded the four-person defense with towering headers and a broad shoulder to nudge a Gregory-Portland player off the ball.
"I know I play smart and I can give Cole good passes. Either Cole or Marco (Segura) I can give them the chances. With Casey and Joel at my sides we can play 1-2 all the time and have quick touches."
Beltran even had a hand in the second goal, which was scored midway in the first half. Freshman Wyatt Fimbel drew a foul on the left, just outside the penalty area.
Fimbel wanted to quickly take the restart, but deferred to captain Joel Gonzales. The free kick was intended for someone to flick on to the goal-Beltran believed he got the slightest touch- but the confusion in the goalmouth was enough for the ball to bounce into the far corner for East's second goal.
Gregory-Portland scored a spectacular goal on the half-volley with six minutes left in the first half to halve the deficit. The Wildcats had a chance to add a second two minutes later, but goalkeeper Ricky Stratman threw off their forward just enough to force his shot wide.
East scored the clinching goal with 8:29 remaining.
Brown won the ball in his own third, before springing Segura down the right sideline. Segura held off his defender long enough to get more attackers into the penalty area. Wyatt Fimbel pressured the Wildcats defenders to the point where there clearance hit a defender and bounced into the net for the third goal.
Moments before the third Titan goal, Beltran made the universal sign that he needed to be substituted. He trudged on for another three minutes, just long enough to be on the field when East snatched control of the game and the district.
"That's my first time playing as a mid," Beltran said. "I thought I would be able to handle it, but I said 'Coach, you know what, I need a switch.' I was pretty tired. I was about to lay down on the field, no lie. My back was killing me because I drank too much water. Even Casey and everyone was "Coach, Shai needs to step out for a minute.'"
By the time Beltran left, his job was done, the defense, and the Titans district championship hopes, were protected.AROUND THE AREA
Victoria West girls tied Rockport-Fulton 2-2 Tuesday night in Rockport. Senior Bryana Frazer scored on a penalty kick, while the multi-faceted Elizabeth Di Santo scored the other goal for the Warriors.
DiSanto has played in midfield, defense and goal for the Warriors this season.
West (11-5-1, 5-2-1 district) entered the match tied for second in District 59-4A with Corpus Christi Moody. The Trojans victory over Corpus Christi Miller Tuesday night pushed the Warriors back to third place. Goalkeeper Shelbey Cade finished with six saves.
Victoria East's five game district unbeaten streak ended Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium with a 4-1 defeat against district-leading Gregory-Portland. Wildcats senior Hannah McWilliams, the MVP of January's Crossroads Classic, scored a first half hat trick to move the Wildcats to 6-1-1 in district play.
Following a Gregory-Portland punt, Morgan Wyatt won the ball in the midfield for Victoria East. With players bearing in on the freshman, she released a pass to forward Valerie Rojas to run onto.
Rojas weathered multiple challenges from a Wildcats defender, before drawing a penalty kick for Victoria East 14 minutes into the second half.
Fellow captain Rachel Mansker coolly finished the penalty to cut the deficit to 3-1. However, Gregory-Portland added a fourth goal with 11 minutes remaining.
Kelsey Ferry had seven saves for Victoria East. The Titans (7-9-1, 4-3-1 district) are still in the top four spots in District 59-4A play.
West boys produce second straight shutout
Victoria West beat picked up a huge 2-0 win over Rockport-Fulton Tuesday night. Hector Mendoza scored both goals for the Warriors. He was assisted by Jose Olade on the first and Diego Perez on the second.
Juan Gonzalez picked up another shutout for Victoria West. Entering the game the Warriors (9-8-2, 4-3-1 district) were fighting with the Pirates and Corpus Christi Moody for the final two spots in the District 59-4A playoff race.