SOLEDAD — The Soledad High boys soccer team accomplished some school history. The players hope to do more in the next couple of weeks.
Soledad High finished the 2013-14 regular season undefeated and won the Mission Trail Athletic League championship with a 2-0 win over Greenfield on Tuesday night.
With the win, the Aztecs won their third consecutive league title and sixth overall.
It was not easy for Soledad (19-0-2, 13-0-1 MTAL), which several times this season were on the brink of a loss only to rally back. And in the teams’ first meeting, Greenfield poked, prodded and pushed Soledad around, but the Aztecs answered. On Tuesday night, that was also the case.
For the 19th time in 21 games this season, Soledad did enough to win.
After the game, there was no wild celebration. The players from both teams hugged and shook hands without the need of lining up single file, recognizing each other as neighbors and friends for a well-fought contest.
“Feels great being three time champions,” said Soledad goalkeeper Jose Villanueva, who preserved the shutout, Soledad’s sixth in a row to end the regular season. The Aztecs allowed one goal in their final 10 games.
It took 51 minutes before the first goal scored.
Both teams battled for the ball on the left side deep in Greenfield territory. The Soledad players secured the ball and sent it to the middle, where Michael Sanchez snuck in to head the ball to the goal.
The ball just passed the arms of the Greenfield goalkeeper and in, giving Soledad a 1-0 advantage.
“The moment I saw the ball in the air, I knew it was going in,” said Sanchez, who put in his 30th goal of the season.
Greenfield did not back down, getting a couple of opportunities, including in the 59th minute, when Brayan Gomez let it rip from about 40 yards away. The ball sailed about a foot above the crossbar.
After that shot attempt, both teams spent a while getting another shot opportunity.
In the 71st minute, Greenfield got the next good look at a goal. Angel Natal stormed down the right side and got a pass. A Soledad defender draped Natal as he let a shot attempt go. The ball sailed a couple of feet to the right of the goal, bringing some oohs from the crowd.
Two minutes later, Soledad secured the ball at midfield and sent a pass that split two defenders. Fabian Guzman got the ball on a sprint and broke free. He went low past the Greenfield goalkeeper, and the ball hugged the pole, giving Soledad a 2-0 advantage.
Greenfield coach Jesus Alvarez said his team did its best to knock off the last undefeated team in the CCS.
“Both teams played good tonight, but at the end, Soledad was the better team,” Alvarez said. “We’re going to CCS, so we’ll see how we do there.”
Greenfield and Soledad will next play in the CCS tournament starting next week. Their fate will be determined this weekend at the seeding meeting.
There is a chance the teams could meet up again in the postseason.
“Hopefully we’ll bring (home) that banner,” Guzman said.