STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
One goal was all the Marble Falls High School boys soccer team needed March 28 to move on to the area round of the playoffs.
The Mustangs (19-2-5) defeated Hutto 1-0 in a bi-district championship off the foot of junior forward Josiah Rojas, a three-year letterman. Junior midfielder Matias Olivas had the assist.
This is the third consecutive bi-district title for Marble Falls and the fourth overall.
“I got the ball, I cut it, and I banged it,” Rojas said of the goal that brought Mustangs fans to their feet.
The goal came with 25 minutes and 42 seconds remaining in the first half.
Head coach Rick Hoover praised his players for their efforts. He noted the Mustangs defeated Hutto 6-1 during a scrimmage earlier this year. The Hippos (8-10-5) adjusted defensively in the bi-district match to ensure Marble Falls didn’t put that many balls in the back of the net.
The Mustangs are the sixth-best scoring team in the state, Hoover said, with 90 goals on the season.
“If you try to play with us, we can score quickly,” he said. “But you get in dogfights if you get into 1-0 games, and we’ve been in a bunch of them.”
This is the Mustangs’ fifth game in which they’ve won by a 1-0 score.
Hoover added that his team had several misses throughout the contest. He attributed that to nerves as many players were in their first postseason game. Add to that the fact that Marble Falls hasn’t played a game since finishing the regular season March 15, and it’s understandable why the Mustangs needed some time to settle down.
“The playoff game is so different,” the coach said. “You have two weeks before you play. That’s a lot of time to lose your continuity. You practice, but you’re not competing for weeks.”
While the Mustangs struggled in putting the ball in the net, they had very little trouble in defending their own goal. They were faster to the ball, quickly closed passing lanes, and ensured shots didn’t have much of a chance at getting in the net.
And while Hoover praised his defenders, he pointed out that mistakes were made at the beginning of the game.
One adjustment Hoover made toward the end of the contest was moving senior defender Bernabe Torres to the back line to thwart the Hippos’ attempt to pick up their pace to tie the game. Torres is the fastest player on the Marble Falls roster, the coach said, and could easily match the Hutto players.
“He’s the best athlete on the field, hands down,” Hoover said. “I felt like he could come in and shut the (opponent) down.”
In the area round of the playoffs, the Mustangs will face the winner of the March 29 matchup between Caney Creek and Waller. The area round is scheduled to take place early next week with date, time, and place to be determined.