The Cougars’ (17-2-2) second trip to the state semifinals since 2010 was once again a short one as they fell to the Sundevils (20-0-1), 2-0, at Carson High School.
Eldorado’s Andy Luna put the Sundevils in front in the 26th minute. The Cougars’ goalie, Omar Trujillo, deflected a short cross with a dive but diverted the ball right to Luna who tapped his squad in front.
Less than two minutes later, Edgar Duran extended the lead to 2-0.
“They (Eldorado) just ran though,” Spanish Springs coach Rob Moreland said of the second goal. “We have to mark up.”
Ricardo Camacho nearly closed the gap to one, seven minutes later if not for a diving stop by Eldorado’s goalie, Sammy Tapia. Camacho bent a free kick from 35 yards out around the Sundevils' defensive line only to be stopped by Tapia.
The near goal was just one of many to come, especially in the second half, for the Cougars.
“That’s what we did all season,” Moreland said. “We had a lot of chances. We have to stick them in the net though.”
Correctly predicting Eldorado would play defensively in the second half, Moreland brought a third player to the front.
Among a seemingly myriad of chances, the Cougars best chance to cut the deficit in half came in the 55th minute. Jonathan Garcia crossed the ball to Victor Garcia, who slid to get to the ball but pushed the ball just feet to the left of the frame.
Camacho constantly caused the Eldorado faithful to hold its breath, booming kicks from the outside but too often was unable to put his long-distance missiles on frame.
The loss capped an impressive season for the Cougars that saw them win the High Desert crown with an undefeated record, but lose in the regional title game last Saturday to Wooster and Friday in the state semifinals.
“I thought it was great season,” Moreland said. “We went undefeated in our league, won league. It was disappointing not to win zone and disappointing this game but I think my guys really fought hard and gave it their all. That’s all you can ask of your players. We’ll be back next year.”
Eldorado plays Palo Verde in Saturday’s state championship match. Palo Verde eliminated Wooster, 2-0, in Friday's other semifinal.