Live Oak extends winning streak to four games; headed down the
home stretch of TCAL play
Gilroy – The Live Oak Acorns boys soccer team rode into the Gilroy Mustangs’ territory on Saturday morning for the second showdown between the long-standing rivals this season. Boasting a 6-0-1 record, the Acorns defeated the Mustangs 3-1 in their previous meeting, and came into this game hoping to stay undefeated, and, more importantly, on top of the Tri-County Athletic League.
The Acorns came out fast, scoring early and then held the Mustangs off for a 1-0 victory.
Gilroy was playing for more than just bragging rights over its old rival. Coming into the game with just two TCAL losses, a win “could’ve changed our whole standing,” said Gilroy coach Brain Hall. “Now we really need some help.” The loss drops Gilroy to 5-3, and into the third or fourth spot in TCAL.
“If we could’ve won this game,” said Hall, “we could’ve won the league.”
It wasn’t for want of spirit that the Mustangs suffered defeat. Early in the game Gilroy’s Jairo Rodriguez ended a sprint down the sideline with a kick sailing right at the Live Oak goal, but Acorn goalkeeper Sheldon Steenhuis saw it coming, and made a diving grab to keep the game scoreless.
Gilroy kept the pressure on, and minutes later forward Jesus Pacheco found himself just feet in front of the Acorn goal with only the keeper to beat, but again Steenhuis made the save, this time knocking the ball wide of the goal, sending it out-of-bounds.
Live Oak responded immediately, with freshman midfielder Johann Abordo taking the ball into Gilroy territory and floating it straight to Garrett Frechette in front of the goal. Frechette, the Acorns’ leading scorer, leapt high above two Gilroy defenders and sent the ball at the goal with a header, but the Mustang goalkeeper Randy Moya caught the ball just in time.
The game continued at a blistering pace, with Gilroy driving toward the Acorn goal repeatedly, and the Acorn defense struggling to keep up. Live Oak defender Josh Smith stood out for the Acorns, booting the ball to mid-field several times, and keeping the Mustangs at bay.
The only score of the game came late in the first half, when Live Oak’s Frechette was fouled just shy of the Gilroy goal and sent the ensuing penalty kick the rest of the way, streaking past a wall of Mustang defenders and just past the outstretched hands of Gilroy’s Moya.
The second half belonged to the Mustangs, who kept up the attack with unrelenting determination.
“We did a good job of wearing Live Oak out, “said Hall after the game. “It was one of those games. You feel like you dominate, feel like you’re the better team,” he continued, “but in the end, it came down to who made the defensive error.
“They’re eventually going to win the league,” predicted Hall, “hats off to Live Oak.”
“That was the best team we’ve seen,” added Acorn coach Tony Goble. “They came at us in the second half, but we survived.”
Improving to 7-0-1 in TCAL play, the mounting toll of victory seemed to be catching up with the Acorns.
“It carries over,” said Frechette, “we’ve been taking a lot of beatings.”
Worn-out or not, the Acorns are now comfortably atop the TCAL and looking ahead to San Benito today at Live Oak.