Saturday afternoon at Galena, 24 seconds ticked off the clock before the Cougars found the back of the net. But the game isn’t about who scores the fastest. It’s about who scores the most.
And until the final minutes of the Northern 4A crossover league clash, it looked like Spanish Springs was going to come up short in that category.
However, senior midfielder Irvin Somera scored two late goals, catapulting the Cougars to a 4-3 victory.
“If they had a goalkeeper, we would have lost that game,” SSHS boys soccer coach Rob Moreland said. “They went to every ball harder than we did. We have to keep our head. We got real lucky. It’s going to take us a little bit longer this year to get rid of the unselfishness and keeping our heads, so we don’t get into barking matches. They worry about all that other crap instead of just playing. But again, we find a way to win. We didn’t give up.”
Fans had barely gotten settled when Spanish Springs opened up the scoring in the first minute on a goal by Alex Matute.
In the 13th minute, Julio Soto ripped a top spin liner that dipped right below the crossbar, giving the Purple and White a 2-0 lead.
Still, last year’s Sierra League regular season champs didn’t quit. The Grizzlies went on the attack and it felt like it was only a matter of time before the home team drew its first blood.
Galena finally cut the deficit in half when Alan Smith broke through the defense when the Cougars didn’t hustle back and got an easy goal with two and a half minutes left in the first half.
“They out-hustled us. They were in our face,” Moreland said. “We have to work harder, that’s all. When we work harder, we’re a good team. They were just first to the ball and knocking us down.”
That’s how the score remained until the 47th minute.
Six minutes into the second half, Spanish Springs had a Somera header goal off a free kick negated by an offside call. Less than a minute later, Brandon Welch stormed down the field and headed the game-tying goal over SSHS keeper Omar Trujillo on a high-bouncing ball.
Both teams were getting a little chirpy as players from both teams earned yellow cards for a pushing match a minute after the Grizzles tied the game.
Galena kept its momentum going though.
In the 64th minute, Riley Roberts won a race for a loose ball in front of the goal and pushed it into the back of the net for the go-ahead score. Trujillo rolled his ankle on the play and had to come out of the game.
That’s when Spanish Springs began playing with a new desperation.
With under three minutes remaining on the clock, Somera sped down the left sideline with the ball. He couldn’t cut the corner around the defense, so he stopped and tried to draw a foul in the box for a penalty kick. There was no call, so he got up, went goal line and took a tough angled shot that had enough pace to get through the Galena goalkeeper for the equalizer.
There was about six minutes added for injury time and Somera came through again.
From 10 yards inside the midfield line, Somera launched a free kick that sailed toward the goal and went through the keeper’s hands.
Spanish Springs (5-0-0) is back in action Wednesday at North Valleys for a 5:30 p.m. start time.
Reed 3, Wooster 1
The Reed Raiders pushed their season record over the break-even mark in league play Saturday. That was a direct result of the Raiders’ 3-1 home win over Wooster in boys prep soccer action.
Reed has strung together back-to-back wins and now sits 3-2 on the young season in the Northern 4A as it prepares for a 7 p.m. home match against McQueen Wednesday.
On Saturday, Reed had to come from behind to get the win over Wooster. The two teams battled through a scoreless first half before Wooster found the scoreboard first. The Colts took a 1-0 edge thanks to a penalty kick goal in the 50th minute.
The deficit did not faze Reed as it scored the next three goals to get the win. Just four minutes after Wooster the lead, Reed pulled into a 1-1 deadlock when Tanner Paris knocked in a header thanks to an assist on a corner kick from Anthony Chinchilla.
In the 64th minute, the Raiders got the go-ahead goal when Christian Martinez scored on a penalty kick. Reed capped the match’s scoring in the final minute of play. Dylan Valentine handled the scoring honors on the third Raiders goal when Alex McPartland gave away an assist.
“That was very, very physical game,” Reed coach Jeff Valentine said. “Obviously, I like the outcome. The biggest thing I was pleased with was we didn’t get down after they scored on the PK. The guys responded well with the three straight goals.
“My team is fine with that physical play. We played up to that intensity. We didn’t let the physical play bug us. We took it to the other team once it got to that level. I like where we sit right now. We have a lot to improve on. We’ve made some switches to our lineup with new guys in new positions but it’s paying off.”
Spanish Springs 0
The Cougars got a good test Saturday, facing one of the top teams in the North. However, they came out on the short end of a one-goal contest.
Spanish Springs fluctuated between playing its slow ball-control game and not. That’s when the Grizzlies took advantage, getting a goal from Dominique Dufur in the 24th minute. Dufur unleashed a shot inside the far post from the top of the 18 for the game’s only goal.
Makenzie Kline recorded three saves in goal for Galena in the shutout.
The Grizzlies had 12 shots on goal to Spanish Springs’ three. Baylie Krutsinger had 11 saves for the Cougs.
“I love these games. I love playing these guys, Carson and Douglas,” SSHS girls soccer coach Mike Faker said. “Those are the teams I want to play and let our kids play against those teams. I wish we could play them twice.”
Spanish Springs (2-2-1) is on the road again Tuesday against High Desert League rival North Valleys. Kick-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.