JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
AUSTIN — It took an extra 20 minutes of play, but the Marble Falls High School boys soccer team nabbed its first playoff win in three years March 24.
The Mustangs defeated Austin Lanier 1-0 in double overtime thanks to a goal by freshman Gilder Vasquez with an assist from junior Cristian Ramirez.
Marble Falls will play the winner of the game between Richmond Foster and San Antonio Jefferson.
The goal came with 4 minutes 5 seconds left in the first overtime. Alexis Acosta began the sequence with a slide tackle and got the ball to Ramirez. Ramirez, who was on the left side, passed the ball to Vasquez, who was running in the middle of the field.
Vasquez set and shot the ball, which floated toward the left side of the goal and away from the Vikings goalie.
Vasquez said he didn’t see the ball go in but knew it was good when his teammates surrounded him in celebration.
He said he felt happy to score as a freshman in a playoff game.
“I got the win for my team,” he said.
Ramirez said he simply received a through ball and sent another to Vasquez.
“The defender stripped it, and I got the rebound,” he said. “It’s my first playoff win. It feels great. I never experienced something like this before. It’s great.”
Mustangs coach Rick Hoover said the goal symbolizes so much about the team this season: hard workers with great attitudes who never believe they’re out of a game and are willing to contribute in any role.
“Those two kids (Ramirez and Vasquez) are role players who won us a playoff game,” he said with a smile. “We have two role players who are non-starters who would start for any team in the state. They came off the bench and made it happen.”
Going into the match, Hoover said he figured Lanier would challenge his squad, which he concluded after he studied film on the Vikings.
He noted the Vikings matched up well against the Mustangs and credited the Lanier goalie for making many stops by using his fists or outrunning Marble Falls to scoop up the ball to ensure there wasn’t a scoring attempt.
“They did a really good job of defending,” Hoover said. “We have one of the best attacks in the state, ranked third or fourth.”
Marble Falls was able to score is because the Mustangs’ physically were in shape and didn’t suffer from the cramping their opponents experienced and never doubted they would find a way, Hoover said.
The Vikings’ best chance to tie the game came in the final two minutes of the second overtime when the ball looked like it was going to find the top left corner. Instead, the ball hit the left post, and the Mustangs cleared the attempt.
Hoover also pointed out that captains Christian Ammons and Tino Dominguez played key roles in keeping their teammates focused.
“They are the engines that make the Mustangs run,” he said.