STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
SEGUIN — A 2-0 victory over Victoria East showed how dominant the Marble Falls High School boys soccer team is on the field. The win came April 3 in an area-round playoff match.
Marble Falls (16-9-1 overall, 9-5 in District 26-5A) faces Dripping Springs at 7 p.m. Friday, April 6, at Lake Travis High School, 3322 RR 620 in Austin, in the Class 5A regional quarterfinals.
“We played much better,” head coach Rick Hoover said about the April 3 win. “We did not play nervous. We played well from the beginning.”
The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead into halftime against Victoria East (22-7-1, 13-2 District 27-5A champion) on a score by senior midfielder Christian Ammons, who found the back of the net as the ball was kicked around near the goal.
Senior midfielder Fortino Tinajera scored the other goal thanks to an assist by senior forward Cristian Santibanez.
Hoover noted that Marble Falls could have scored more, but he was happy to see the players score during regulation. In a bi-district championship game March 29, the Mustangs won in penalty kicks, outshooting Austin Lanier 20-3.
“We controlled the game (against East) from start to finish,” Hoover said. “We played really well. Offensively, I thought we could have done better. We had many chances we could have taken advantage of.”
He commended the defense for “playing smart and knowing where you are on the field and trusting your teammates.”
Sometimes, when it looks like the defense is sleeping, what it’s actually doing is tricking the other team into making passes it can intercept. That was part of the strategy against East, Hoover said.
“Every time Victoria East was on the attack, you have to take that away,” he said. “You don’t always have to be on the guy, but you have to have the lanes covered. Our boys played defensively very soundly.”
The contest against Dripping Springs (19-3-3, 8-3-3) is the third this year. Marble Falls beat the Tigers 4-2 during the first round of district play but lost 2-1 in the rematch.
Hoover said the two teams are evenly matched but with different styles. The Mustangs are methodical, controlling the ball and working for great shots, while the Tigers like to pass the ball long to sophomore forward Max Gonzales to give him an opportunity to score in one-on-one matchups.
“Both styles are quite effective,” Hoover said. “It’s a big game in a big moment. These are two evenly matched teams. Our kids know each other and played against each other since middle school.”
The squad that wins will play and handle the moment and stay within the game plan, Hoover said.