Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Miguel Duran runs into the Dos Palos goalkeeper after a second half shot attempt during Thursday’s 1-1 tie with the Bobcats.
After getting a surprising overtime, the Liberty Hawks boys soccer team finally found the back of the net, but the Dos Palos Bobcats tied the score in the next few minutes for a non-conference tie at Liberty.
In a game moved up three hours so the game could be played on a better field, the Hawks took more than 90 minutes to break a scoreless tie with a goal from Adrian Vasquez. Dos Palos’ long goal gave the match a 1-1 tie.
“We just couldn’t finish,” head coach Darrell Ratzlaff said. “We had one of our forwards play in the box today. Our goalkeeper is in Tahoe. We missed a little early on that. Our other forward got a yellow card and it wasn’t worth the risk to lose him for the match and head into the tournament down a player. We need to finish. We played Clovis and Fresno high tough. We gave up some silly goals.”
The Hawks were looking for a positive result heading into this weekend’s rescheduled Garces Holiday Festival and with North Sequoia League beginning next week.
After tough 2-0 losses to both Fresno and Clovis high schools, Ratzlaff knew his team had the ability to play with some of the best teams in his division.
However, he had to make changes Thursday, moving forward Isaiah Torres from forward to goalkeeper. Torres played well in the box, thwarting a Dos Palos penalty kick and got beat on a ball to the opposite back corner.
“Isaiah did an excellent job,” Ratzlaff said. “He’s not where he likes to be so for him to step up the way he did was huge.”
Ratzlaff also pointed out the play of halfback Ruben Guzman.
“Ruben played his heart out today,” Ratzlaff said .”He played so well. I’ve never seen someone play that hard consistently for 100 minutes. He kept fighting back with everything.”
The Hawks had control of the ball for most of the game, but couldn’t find the back of the net. In the 11th minute, Michael Hamman got a shot blocked by the Dos Palos keeper. Vasquez got in front of a defender and shot wide to o the right. Another Vasquez shot was blocked out, but the rebound shot went out of bounds.
Liberty’s best chance to score came when Miguel Duran beat a defender on the left and shot past the oncoming goalkeeper. However, his shot was knocked out just before it crossed the end line to keep the game scoreless.
In the seventh minute of the second half, Gabriel Perez sent a fee kick from about 25 yards out off the Dos Palos keeper. Julian Lopez came in and shot on goal, but it was blocked out by a diving goalkeeper for the save.
In the 15th minute, Dos Palos got a penalty kick after an attacker was taken out from behind. The Dos Palos kick was blocked by a diving save to the left by Torres.
With five minutes left in regulation, Charlie Smith got the ball on the right and shot by the goalkeeper. The shot hit the right post and went out of bounds.
Both teams were ready to congratulate each team on a well-played match, but was told they were going into overtime. Both teams had uneventful first halves of the extra time, but each scored a goal in the second half.
Early in the second half, Lopez sent a ball across from the right to Vasquez on the left. Vasquez one-touched the ball inside the left corner by a diving goalkeeper for the go-ahead goal.
However, a couple of minutes later, Dos Palos put the pressure on the Hawks and were able to get enough room to got a shot off just outside the goalkeeper’s box. The ball sailed into the upper right corner for the goal over Torres’ outstretched hand for the tying goal.