March 13, 2014

Save, score and win

Goalie's PK make is the difference for North Murray against Coahulla

VARNELL — Goalkeepers taking shots is rare in soccer. In fact, there’s only one feasible scenario where it happens.

North Murray High School goalkeeper Manuel Gonzalez was in that scenario — the most important one of Thursday’s match at Coahulla Creek.

Gonzalez’s penalty kick found the back of the net and earned North Murray a 4-3 win in penalty kicks against its Region 5-3A rival after 80 minutes of regulation time and 10 extra minutes of overtime netted a 2-2 score. After making big saves all night for the Mountaineers, Gonzalez made the biggest shot as well.

“I’ve shot them before,” said Gonzalez, who made The Daily Citizen’s 2013 All-Area Boys Soccer Team. “As keeper, you kind of know how the shooter will stand and other tells. I try to confuse the keeper and make it tough on him to guess right.”

Prior to Gonzalez’s penalty kick, three other North Murray players converted attempts in the shootout. Jose Luis Rangel was wide left on the Mountaineers’ first try. Victor Iturbero, Jacob Dotson and Oliver Nunez didn’t miss.

Coahulla Creek faltered on its first two penalty kicks in the shootout — Jo-An Barcenas’ try was blocked by Gonzalez and Sadoth Fraire’s was too high — but Pedro Garcia, Manuel Morales and Alex Vivar made the next three for the Colts.

Coahulla Creek (5-2-1, 4-2) entered this week undefeated and is the No. 9-ranked team in the Class 3A poll. This loss — plus a 3-2 loss to region foe Ringgold on Tuesday — puts a damper on the Colts’ strong start.

North Murray (5-1, 5-1) won last year’s Region 5-3A title. The Mountaineers wanted to reestablish themselves in this match as the league’s team to beat.

“It was a statement game for us,” North Murray coach Matt Chambers said. “(Because of) them being ranked even though we’re the defending region champs, we had a chip on our shoulder.”

The Mountaineers definitely started the match like they had something to prove.

Arturo Garcia dribbled past two Coahulla Creek defenders and scored in the second minute with a shot just bouncing off the inside of the right post. Then, his cross in the sixth minute found Neto Rodriguez’s head for a 2-0 lead.

“We messed it up in the first 10 minutes,” Coahulla Creek coach Eric Parker said. “We outplayed them for the rest of the game. Our passing was a little off tonight and we couldn’t push it like we wanted to.”

The Colts responded with Barcenas’ perfectly placed free kick to the top left corner in the 11th minute. Garcia tied the game in the 28th minute off a volley around 5 yards in front of North Murray’s net.

The teams played a scoreless tie the rest of the way despite each side having its share of near misses. North Murray took 18 shots to Coahulla Creek’s 17. Gonzalez made seven saves, while Missael Fraire had five.

Coahulla Creek girls 5, North Murray 2: Hannah Grant scored the first goal and Regina Pacheco scored the next four as the Lady Colts (2-6, 2-4 Region 5-3A) rolled at home.

Coahulla Creek led 3-0 at halftime but North Murray’s Alonda Bennett scored off of McKenzie Walston’s assist to make it 3-1. She scored again in the 79th minute, seven minutes after Pacheco made it 5-1.

“As a team, we’re learning each other,” Coahulla Creek coach LaDawn McClary said.

Amber Bandy made seven saves for North Murray (1-5, 1-5), which was without midfielder Megan Pittman due to a hairline fracture in her right ankle. She’ll miss four weeks, North Murray coach Justin Frazier said.

Melissa Cabrera made three saves for Coahulla Creek.

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