It’s been an incredible run so far this season for the Monterey High boys soccer team.
The Toreadores rode their defense to another win Tuesday after defeating Palma 3-0 at Rabobank Stadium.
With the win, Monterey remained unbeaten in the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division at 4-0-2 and moved to 8-2-2 overall.
The defense made its stand again, stopping a Palma team that came into the week with its sights set on returning to .500. Monterey posted its eighth shutout of the season and fourth in its past five games.
“The game was what we expected. Palma is a tough team to beat at home,” said Monterey coach Alex Jennings.
Jennings said it took about 15 minutes for his team to settle in before really kicking into high gear. The Toreadores needed almost all of that time to get their first goal.
In the 14th minute, Hyunsik Lee received the ball from about 35 yards out on the right side. He crept forward for about 10 yards before firing a shot that got past the Palma defense, putting Monterey ahead 1-0.
From there, it was a defensive battle by both teams for the remaining 26 minutes of the first half.
In the 28th minute, Palma’s Miguel Mendez, one of the team’s top scorers, slowly moved forward in a one-on-one battle with a Monterey defender. Mendez shook the defender and fired a near parallel shot on goal that went right to the Monterey goalkeeper.
Three minutes later, Palma received a free kick at the top of the goalkeeper’s box. The Chieftains opted for a short pass into the box. The ensuing shot on goal was tipped away.
Palma did not stop, getting a corner kick two minutes later.
Monterey thought it had a 2-0 lead at the bell, when Brian Herrera stole a pass from about 20 yards away and fired a shot on goal. The ball hit the side of the net, and Monterey was left with a 1-0 lead at half.
Herrera did get in a tally.
In the 74th minute, Arman Salari led a breakaway at midfield. He stopped when two Palma defenders closed in and passed the ball to Herrera, who finished the deal. Herrera waived his arms wildly in celebration as the Toreadores went ahead 3-0.
The goal sealed up Monterey’s first three-goal game in two weeks.
Lee put Monterey ahead 2-0 when he sped past all defenders.
Palma had its chances in the second half, but the collective Monterey defense stopped the Chieftains.
Palma had a free kick in the 45th minute from about 30 yards away. Mendez booted the ball, and it curved in a way that it looked like it was going to sneak by everyone. The ball tailed too far but did not go out of bounds, and an ensuing scrum led to Monterey clearing the ball.
In the 56th minute, Palma had a free kick from about 30 yards out, and a shot on goal was blocked. The Chieftains had two corner kicks soon after, but Monterey prevented a score.
“Everyone stepped up and had a solid game, but it was that one break that got us,” said Palma co-captain Zack Werner.
Co-captain John Budde said the team is not down despite the current slide.
“The first half, the intensity was right up there with them,” Budde said. “We had a solid performance on defense, but we struggled a little bit to gain momentum.”
Palma will try to get back on track Thursday at Rabobank Stadium against Monte Vista Christian.
With the win, Monterey became the fourth high school soccer team to win at Rabobank Stadium, joining Palma, King City’s boys team, Notre Dame’s girls team and Seaside’s boys team.
Carmel 1, Gonzales 1: At Carmel, Joe Paormena scored the tying goal for the Padres with about 20 minutes to play on an assist from Daniel Ceto.
Gonzales scored in the first half.
Carmel, 2-4-1 in the MTAL, hosts Greenfield on Thursday.
North Salinas 2, Seaside 1: At Seaside, the Vikings scored a goal in each half to take a 2-0 lead before Seaside finall poked one in.
Isaias Rivera and Andres Parra scored for North Salinas. Fernando Gonzalez assisted on both goals. Viking goalie Gregorio Salinas had eight saves.
North Salinas, 3-2-1 in league, visits Hollister on Thursday.
Salinas 2, North County 0: At Salinas High, Brice Grissom, on an assist by Jesus Diaz at the 25th minute of the first half, put Salinas up 1-0. At the 27 minute of the second half, a goal by Luis Cortes, assisted from Emiliano Arras, made it 2-0.
Ricardo Losoya had nine saves in goal while Javier Cardenas and Sebastian Magana were praised for their effort.
Salinas is at Watsonville on Thursday at 6:45 p.m.
Soledad 1, Greenfield 0: At Greenfield, the Aztecs grinded out a win to remain the last undefeated team in Monterey County.
With the win, Soledad improved to 6-0-1 in the Mission Trail Athletic League and 11-0-2 overall.
The high-scoring tandem of Fabian Guzman and Michael Sanchez worked together for the lone score in the second half. Sanchez found Guzman and passed the ball to him, and Guzman finished.
Soledad goalkeeper Jose Villanueva made five saves in the win.
Soledad travels to Carmel on Thursday.
* Alisal 2, Gilroy 0: At Gilroy, the Trojans stopped the highest-scoring team in the four-league area and remained undefeated in the Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division.
Alisal became the second team in the county to 10 wins this season and improved to 5-0-1 in the division.
Both goals came in the first half. Benito Chavez scored on a Mauri Garcia pass in the 20th minute.
Five minutes later, goalkeeper Andres Camacho made a save and booted the ball 70 yards. The ball cleared everyone, with Chavez and a Gilroy defender the lone two speeding toward the ball. The Gilroy goalkeeper came out to challenge, and the Gilroy defender accidentally headed the ball into the goal for an own goal.
Alisal has yet to allow a goal in divisional play. The Trojans next face North Monterey County on Thursday in Castroville.