ZILLAH It’s early in the season, and the Leopards are trying to get their feet under them as they lost their second soccer match so far.
“We definitely have a learning curve,” Assistant Coach Nathan Trevino said after Friday’s 5-0 loss to Granger.
Throughout the first 40 minutes of the match, the teams traveled back and forth across the field, trading scoring attempts.
The Spartans showed better control, but both teams struggled to hit the back of the net with the ball flying just outside the net on several shots.
The keepers kept busy, sometimes getting possession of the ball within the goal box and sending it to the other side of the field, nearly to one another.
Zillah’s Salvador Vazquez and Moises Carranza often attacked the Granger side of the field, but just couldn’t get the ball past Adonis Hurtado of the Spartans.
With just 8:22 remaining in the opening half of the match, Gerardo Perez of the Spartans sent the ball sailing past the crossbars into the back of the net to score the only goal prior to intermission.
In the second half, the Leopards’ attack fell short and Granger seemed to have gained a boost to its offense.
Zillah’s defenders tried to stay on the ball in spite of the Spartans’ determined offense.
It just wasn’t enough for the less experienced Leopards as Granger’s Juan Zuniga wove past the defense to score another goal 11 minutes into the second half to make it a 2-0 match.
At the 25th minute, the Leopards blocked a corner kick, but it took just 4 more minutes before the Spartans hit pay dirt again as Perez booted the ball beyond the reach of Zillah keeper Angel Soto.
Another four minutes would pass, and Soto stretched to keep the ball out of the net successfully before the Spartans capitalized on another scoring opportunity.
Making the first attempt was Moises Ramirez, and the successful goal was delivered by Zuniga.
Jiovanni Cortez got in on the Granger scoring action in the 35th minute and just prior to the final whistle, Cristian Cuevas’ scoring attempt was blocked by Soto.
“We could do better,” Salvador Vazquez, a sophomore for Zillah said.
“We need to keep our heads up and prepare for the next game,” he said.
Trevino said the Leopards have only fielded a soccer team for three years, and many of his players are learning the game, still.
“We held our own in the first half… we’re doing pretty good for being a young program,” he said.
Adding to the inexperience on Friday was the fact that there were several players filling in from the junior varsity ranks because the varsity has some who were unable to play due to illness or injury.
“We just have to keep practicing and keep the positivity,” Vazquez said.
“The kids are stepping up,” Trevino said.
“We missed some easy opportunities, but this is the first foot in the door,” he said, referencing the match was just the second of the spring season.
Trevino said he’s proud of the hard work and effort the team has been putting in, and he sees them making strides as the season progresses.