Soto lit up the Mustangs for three goals to lead the home team to a 4-2 Northern 4A win in prep boys soccer action. Soto stunned Damonte with two quick strikes within a minute and a half of each other in the first half.
With 18:50 left before halftime, Alex Matute sent a beautiful ball ahead to Soto on the run. Soto barely stayed onside but he had to hurry and rip a shot from the top of the box as the Mustangs keeper charged at him.
In the 23rd minute, Matt Munley threaded the needle with a pass. Soto settled the ball, spun and took a shot with his left foot over the goalkeeper, handing the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
“That’s what it’s all about in a nutshell. If they can do that continually, I swear there’s no one who can hang with you,” SSHS boys soccer coach Rob Moreland said. “It’s just too fast for anyone to react; one touch, one touch, one touch, one touch, goal. That’s what we’ve been working on. Finally, they started trusting. A little bit of the unselfishness showed.
“But then it went away again, so it’s the consistency you have to work on. Our job is not done. It just started, but that was a good result.”
The Spanish Springs defense couldn’t keep the Mustangs off the scoreboard though.
With under six minutes left in the half, Bryan Ramirez got a cross right in front of the goal and put it in the back of the net with ease, sending the teams into the intermission with a 2-1 score.
It didn’t take long for Damonte Ranch to knot things up at 2-2. In the opening minutes of the second half, Jose Correa popped up a shot over Cougars keeper Ivan Trujillo to tie the game.
Spanish Springs only played with three defenders to keep Damonte’s three forwards in check, so there was not much room for mistakes in the back during the 80 minutes.
The Cougars turned again to their potent weapon. Minutes after the game was tied, Soto unleashed a shot past the Mustang keeper, who didn’t even move, to record the hat trick.
Twelve minutes after Spanish Springs went up 3-2, Damonte was called for a foul in the box. Irvin Somera took the penalty kick and scorched it low and left for a 4-2 advantage.
Spanish Springs (5-3) is on the road Saturday at Hug. Kickoff is 11 a.m.
- Reed 2, Manogue 1 -
The Miners had not scored a goal all season, but their marker in the opening minutes of the second half which broke a scoreless deadlock appeared like it would be enough, especially with Sean Bieker in goal.
Bieker made save after save, racking up 12 on the night, and it didn’t seem to matter that most of the second half was played on Manogue’s defensive side of the field.
However, Reed finally broke through as Dylan Valentine scored two goals with very little time to spare to lift the Raiders to the home victory.
With four minutes left in the contest, Rawlin McCubbins knocked the ball away from a defender, sent a cross to Valentine, who one-timed the pass into the back of the net to finally beat Bieker.
But Bieker went back to work, making diving saves on both McCubbins and Valentine in the closing minutes, keeping the tie in tact. The Blue and Gold got lucky with about a minute to play.
Confusion between the officials on which team should have the ball allowed Reed to take advantage of a quick reset. With a pass ahead, Valentine was off to the races with only Bieker to beat. Valentine waited until Bieker committed and then went top shelf into the right side of the goal for the game-winner for the Raiders’ first victory since the season opener.
Reed (2-5-1) is back at home Saturday against North Valleys at 11 a.m.