Pajaro Valley High senior Ruben Garcia (14) fights off Alvarez High senior Ricardo Soza (11) during the first half of their Monterey Bay League Gabilan division soccer game on Tuesday at Emmett M. Geiser Field in Watsonville. -- Tony Nunez/Register-Pajaronian
WATSONVILLE — Officials stopped the game minutes before halftime in fear of a lighting strike.
Then, figuratively, lightning did strike Emmett M. Geiser Field.
After a 30-minute delay, the Alvarez High Eagles scored a pair of goals in 11 minutes to hand the Pajaro Valley High Grizzlies their first Monterey Bay League Gabilan division loss on Tuesday night in Watsonville.
PV (5-6, 2-1) dominated the first 36 minutes of the match but after the rainy and windy Watsonville skies lit up with what looked like lightning but sounded like an explosion from a transformer, the officials called for a half-hour pause.
Alvarez (6-0-3, 1-0-1) head coach Siad Ortiz said the stoppage helped his team, which was huddled together for warmth under the press box at Geiser, regroup.
“I got to talk to my team and got to motivate them,” Ortiz said. “It’s always a plus when you get those extra minutes when you start sloppy. We were able to talk to a few players and they were able to pick it up in the second half.”
Ricardo Hinojosa scored six minutes after the break and Ricardo Soza gave Alvarez a 2-0 lead in the 57th minute.
The Grizzlies kept fighting through the sideways rain and the powerful winds, which were pushing and pulling the ball each time it flew through the air, but they never found the same magic from the first half.
“It was tough to play against the weather — it was unpredictable,” said Pajaro Valley head coach Juan Roman. “We had our best chances in the first half.”
One of their handful of chances looked like it had broken the scoreless tie.
In the 21st minute, Pajaro Valley senior Eduardo Viorato had a pair of point blank shots. The first was blocked by Alvarez senior keeper Sebastian Ramirez and the second-chance rebound caromed off an Alvarez defender and out.
One of the deflections looked like it snuck into the net but the officials did not call it a goal and the game continued on.
“It went in,” Roman said. “It hit the back of the net…but it’s OK. Alvarez is a solid team and they showed it last week.”
The Eagles were not only fresh off a 1-1 tie against Watsonville High in their MBL-G opener but they had also played to a 1-1 tie with Archbishop Mitty just two weeks prior. Both Watsonville and Mitty are ranked within the top 15 teams in topdrawersoccer.com’s Winter FAB 50 national rankings and the two squads also tied in last year’s prestigious Central Coast Section Open Division championship.
Alvarez, meanwhile, is listed as the No. 16 team in the country, according to Top Drawer Soccer.
But Pajaro Valley did not show any fear while pushing the ball down the field with star senior forward Alexis Rincon, who set up teammates all night with perfect passes. But none of his fellow Grizzlies could find the back of the net.
“We expected a hard game, very physical and fast, and we saw that through the first few minutes,” Ortiz said. “I think Pajaro Valley, I don’t know if it was the conditions that we were playing in, they started off really well touching the ball but after 10 minutes it was more of playing against the weather. They started off great but they slowed down as the game was progressing.”
Alvarez will return to Salinas on Thursday to play rival Alisal High, which is in first place in the MBL-G and ranked No. 14 in the country by Top Drawer Soccer, at 5:45 p.m.
Pajaro Valley will try to rebound from its first league loss on Thursday against San Benito High back at Geiser Field at 6:45 p.m.
Roman said it will be interesting how his players respond to their first taste of adversity in league play.
“We’re 2-1 in league and it’s OK. We’ll come out on Thursday and try to do better,” Roman said. “Hopefully the weather permits.”For the complete article see the 01-12-2017 issue.
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