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Red Oak edges lion soccer in shootout, 2-1

Friday night’s game was in doubt right down to the last kick of a shootout in district play.
Ennis (3-4, 2-1) faced the Red Oak Hawks in a battle of undefeated district teams and 80 minutes of regulation wasn’t enough as the score stood at 1-1. The Hawks made the first of their five attempts in the shootout and it ended up being enough to hold on for the road win. Considering that the game capped off a tumultuous week for his team, coach Alex Rendon was pleased with the effort his Lions put forth.
“It’s always tough to say that it was a good game when you’re on the losing end, but I was proud of the guys,” Rendon said.
“Our team has been through a lot in the past few days. We lost starting forward Juan Soto [earlier in the week] for the next few games and Jose [Luis] Cantero’s grandfather was killed in an auto accident on Thursday morning.
“Jose decided to stay with the team for the game and the guys rallied behind him. We’re also banged up and only had four guys on the bench, but the team left it all on the field tonight.”
Red Oak was able to produce some quality chances early on as Beto Perez blocked a direct kick in minute two and Marco Patlan cleared out a dangerous ball in front of an open Lion goal in minute three. The Hawks continued to create scoring opportunities, but sweeper Taylor Goodwin always seemed to have an answer as he blocked two shots and headed a corner kick out of danger.
“Taylor did his job and I’ve come to expect big defensive plays from him,” Rendon said.
“He’s consistent as our last line of defense.”
Meanwhile, the Lions were threatening at the other end as Jesus Vasquez put a direct kick on goal in minute four while Jovani Rangel booted a quality shot on goal from 20 yards out in minute 12.
“Jovani was definitely able to threaten their defense [throughout], but just didn’t quite get off the shot he needed for a goal,” the coach said.
In minute 18, the Hawks broke through on the scoreboard with a low 15-yard goal to cap off a transition attack.
“Red Oak was attacking hard on the left side and I think our defenders got mixed up on who they were marking, which left [goalie] Tim [Mojica] in a one-on-one situation,” Rendon said.
“Red Oak put it away, but I still felt pretty good about our chances.”
After Mojica stepped up with a couple of saves, Ennis was able to even the score in minute 31.
Cantero fired a long throw-in in front of the Hawk goal and Ivan Solis one-touched it on the backside of the defense with a knee-high goal from 15 yards out. Red Oak had a direct kick blocked by the Lion wall in minute 34 and Esteban Celleri nearly had an opportunity for the go-ahead goal on a misplay by the Hawk keeper just before the half in minute 36.
“Jose Luis made a good throw-in and Ivan shielded the ball from the defender,” Rendon said of the tying goal.
“He turned and made a quick, powerful shot so that the keeper didn’t know what to expect. Red Oak kept looking to counterattack [throughout the half] and didn’t have many quality chances whereas we were building up with controlled passes. It was up to us to get back on defense.”
The Lions went through a rough patch of play early in the second half as they had trouble controlling the ball, but Ennis was able to withstand a couple of Hawk direct kicks without allowing the go-ahead goal.
On a positive note, subs such as Celleri, Jaime Torres and Colby Threet were playing substantial quality minutes for the home team.
“It would’ve been nice to call a timeout early in the second half because our touches were off and we were getting a little sloppy out there,” Rendon said.
“The guys were eventually able to pull out of it without any damage done. Esteban really stepped up tonight after a rough outing on Tuesday. He played the entire second half and kept up his effort.
“Colby had a shaky first half at times, but he was able to come back and play really well in the second half. He showed good touch on some nice passes out of the back. Jaime came up from the JV for this game because we needed a possession midfielder and he definitely has good touch on the ball.
“He played more physical tonight than what I’ve seen in the past. Alex Casillas also played well [off the bench] to give us good minutes at forward.”
After the Hawks controlled field position early in the half, Ennis gained the upper hand around minute 60 as Torres had a shot go just wide of the net. The Hawks had their best scoring chances of the half in minutes 70 and 71 as Marco Patlan was forced to make a great shot deflection on a quick Red Oak attack while new Lion goalie Gerardo Rangel made a clutch save at close range on a header by the visitors. The final minutes of play were very physical as the referees swallowed their whistles while both Goodwin and Solis fought through injury to stay in the game as regulation time came to an end.
“Marco did a good job of getting back into that play to prevent a clear shot and Gerardo followed up with a key save,” Rendon said.
“I was pleased with the way we controlled the ball overall in the second half and put passes into open space.”
The Hawks went first in the shootout and their initial attempt produced a quality strike into the left corner of the net past a charging Gerardo Rangel. Rangel would block one of the next four Red Oak attempts and he disrupted each of the other shooters sufficiently to prevent another goal.
Jovani Rangel was first up for Ennis and he delivered the Lions’ best attempt with a strike that bounced back off the top of the bar. Cantero and Goodwin each put shots on goal that were blocked while Perez and Solis’ attempts ended up being off the mark as Red Oak held on for the district win.
“I don’t like the shootout format because we’re not used to it, but I definitely think we’ll be a lot better off in our next shootout,” Rendon said.
“Looking back, the guys know all they have to do is slow down and take what the keeper gives them. Jovani’s shot was probably our best chance and we had a few bad shots, but you live and learn.
“Red Oak had some bad mistakes as well. Gerardo challenged their shooters and put a lot of pressure on them.”
As the team moves on for a 7 p.m. road contest with Corsicana on Tuesday, Rendon recognized that the loss is a small piece of a much larger puzzle as Ennis has played just three district games with 15 remaining.
“Red Oak did win the game, but even their coach felt that we probably outplayed them for the most part in regulation,” he said.
“This was an emotional week for the team, yet I’m encouraged that our guys off the bench played well and all of our players responded well after the game by taking the attitude that we’ll get [Red Oak] the next time around. Hard work will get us over the hump and, considering it’s a long district season, I really believe things will fall into place for us.”

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Posted by on Jan 30 2007. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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