Something had to give when the Mission Oak and Tulare Union boys soccer teams faced off in an East Yosemite League game Thursday night at Bob Mathias Stadium.
Both teams entered the game looking for their first league win of the season.
At the 76-minute mark, it appeared a possibility both teams might have to wait another game to notch that elusive first victory because the score was tied 2-2.
But Mission Oak’s Armando Mora found a loose ball in the penalty box and kicked the ball past the Tulare Union goalkeeper and the Hawks went on to beat the Redskins 3-2.
“Tonight, they fought back and stayed under control,” Mission Oak coach Shane Brown said. “Usually we panic and that hurts us. We stayed calm and knocked the ball in tonight.”
Mission Oak improved to 1-3 in EYL play and 7-5-2 overall.
Tulare Union fell to 0-4 and 7-9-1.
“We have to play with more intensity and play smarter,” Tulare Union coach Mike Shaffer said. “I told them I wanted them to play with their heads and their hearts. If they do that, physically we can match any team we face. We just have to play smart. I felt they did that tonight. Unfortunately, the score doesn’t reflect that.”
Mission Oak scored all three goals on almost identical plays, and each time it started with a Scotty Mendonsa throw in.
The Hawks scored in the 49th minute when Mendonsa’s long throw in bounced around in the penalty box and Salathiel Palomino found the loose ball and kicked it into the back of the net.
The second goal happened almost the same way, only this time it was Edger Llamas finding the loose ball for the goal.
The third goal also started with Mendonsa and was cleaned up by Mora.
“We have a beast that can throw it a long way,” Brown said. “We finally got aggressive in the box and the ball bounced right and we got them in.”
Mendonsa, a defender, didn’t get involved with the offense much, but when he did get involved with his throw-ins, good things happened for the Hawks.
The Hawks even had a fourth goal called off when Mendonsa stepped in the field of play on a throw-in.
“I think our team worked great,” Mendonsa said. “We worked hard to get the win and got some good goals. We practiced well. We had a great practice. We came out here looking for our first win and we didn’t quit until the final whistle blew.”
Shaffer was pleased with the way his team played, but was disappointed with how they allowed the Hawks to score their goals.
“We knew Scotty had a big throw and we were ready for it,” Shaffer said. “We didn’t win the ball in the air and it fell in front of the goal. Once the ball is on the ground in there, it is like a pinball machine. The ball bounces and you hope you can clear it, but that didn’t happen.”
The Redskins got on the scoreboard first on a goal by Christian Webb, and they tied the game in the 72nd minute on a goal by Brian Ferreira. Both goals were assisted by Enrique Gutierrez.