“I was not comfortable,” Reed coach Jeff Valentine said. “It was not one of our better games. We squeaked it out. We did I guess what we needed to do.”
The Raiders started things off with a presentation of Senior Day, with 13 seniors graduating from this year’s Raider squad. Valentine said that his team’s obvious flatness may have stemmed from the Senior Day festivities.
The HDL foes battled through the first half scoreless, heading into an important second half.
Reno (6-4-1 HDL) broke the stalemate in the 58th minute of the match, taking a 1-0 lead on a header off a corner kick.
Reed struggled from behind but Rica Martinez finally found the net for the Raiders. Jesse Mendoza dished off to Martinez who sent a shot perfectly placed into the lower left corner.
Marco Licciardi found Martinez in transition. Martinez took a few touches, and with his back to the net, took a near blind shot as he spun around. He found the same sweet spot, giving the Raiders a 2-1 lead with seven minutes left in regulation.
“They weren’t struck very well at all,” Valentine said on Martinez’s goals. “Not hard, but in the right place. He’s a great kid and he knows where to place it. He got the opening and he took the chance.
The Raiders (11-4-4, 8-0-3 HDL) then staved off the final Reno rallies and came away with the one-goal win.
Reed has one match left in league play, Tuesday against North Valleys. Reed trails Hug in the standings. The Hawks sat 8-1-2 in league heading into Saturday. If Reed can win on Tuesday, it will not have lost all season and will stake claim to first place in the HDL.
“One more win and we’ll take first in the High Desert and that’s what we’re looking for,” Valentine said. “Nothing less than that. It’s in our own hands.”
The last time the squads met, Reed took a 4-1 home victory over the Panthers.
“It will be tough,” Valentine said. “They played us tough the first time. They’re actually a very physical team. It should be good for us.”