The Cougars, who had been saddled with back-to-back losses, and a tie before that, used a late goal Saturday afternoon to pull out a 2-1 home victory over Hug.
Spanish Springs improved to 6-2-1 with the weekend win. The loss leaves Hug with the same mark so the two schools are tied for second place in the HDL standings behind North Valleys, 8-0-1.
“That is a great win to stay in second place,” Spanish Springs coach Rob Moreland said. “Hug is a good team. We kept our heads, did more as a team and did more of what our coaches asked.”
Tied at 1-1, Spanish Springs got its go-ahead goal in the 78th minute. Irvin Somera fired a shot on goal off a direct kick from just beyond the 18-yard box. It bounced off a few legs and then under the Hug goalkeeper’s hands before finding the net.
“As their defense stepped back all the way, I thought any hard shot would probably go in the goal and it did,” Somera said. “Three losses in a row would’ve been bad for us. We just need to keep working hard. We’ve got to step up and play well.”
Hug got on the scoreboard first. The visiting Hawks took their 1-0 lead thanks to a goal by Ernesto Romero in the 23rd minute.
Spanish Springs knotted the score at 1-1 at the 35-minute mark when Julio Soto ran down long kick from SSHS goalkeeper Omar Trujillo. Soto corralled the punt pass and buried a shot in the Hug net, accounting for the 1-1 deadlock, five minutes before halftime.
“We didn’t give up on anything and I thought we out-hustled them today,” Moreland said. “We almost always had two guys to the ball.”
It looked like the league rivals would have settle for a 1-1 draw as they battled through countless scoreless possessions before Somera’s seeing-eye shot found the goal.
“I expect there to be physical play, but I also expect the refs to call it fairly,” Hug coach Ralph Renteria said, expressing his frustration with the officiating. “I’m not a happy camper.
“Their second goal ricocheted off different players. There is luck in everything and sometimes luck ain’t with you.”
Spanish Springs returns to action Wednesday when it goes to Reed for a 7 p.m. match against its cross-town rivals.
•In the girls match, Spanish Springs posted a 2-1 triumph over Hug.
The visiting Hawks did get on the scoreboard first, putting up a score in the 25th minute.
Spanish Springs scored on a set play by Karen Corral at the 35-minute mark and the two teams went into halftime knotted at one goal apiece.
The Cougars (4-4-1) got the only goal after the intermission. At the 65-minute mark, Justice Corona took an assist from Kylie Diesner and scored the goal-ahead goal for the SSHS club.
“That score was way closer than I’d like,” Spanish Springs coach Mike Faker said. “I thought we were a lot better than them. We controlled possession. We just couldn’t put it in the net. We did what we needed. We played well. We just didn’t finish like I’d like us to.”