The Orchard Valley Mustangs U16 boys soccer team enacted a
storybook comeback in redeeming themselves at the Madrid Premier
Cup in San Louis Obispo over the weekend, earning a long-awaited
By Cat Pierotti – Staff Writer
The Orchard Valley Mustangs U16 boys soccer team enacted a storybook comeback in redeeming themselves at the Madrid Premier Cup in San Louis Obispo over the weekend, earning a long-awaited championship.
The club soccer squad, comprised of players from Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Martin, went undefeated en route to the crown, though, once again, a difficult semifinal game almost ended their chance at the title.
The road to the title, a year in the making, included a disappointing semifinal loss at last year’s Cup, and facing a 2-0 hole in this season’s semifinal match, it looked like it would be a repeat of their past experience. However, the Mustangs did the opposite and came back in the last minutes of the game to earn the win.
“The whole team pulled through the 2-0 semifinal game with only 20 minutes left,” said head coach Albert Munoz. “In 18 minutes they scored three goals to go to the finals.”
The goals, scored by Ben Troini, Julio Higuera, Robert Huerta, saved the Mustangs’ chance to compete for the ultimate prize.
“The semifinal game really brought this team together,” said Munoz.
The Mustangs headed into the championship game against the Santa Barbara SC Red in a rematch of the tournament’s opening game.
The first time the two teams battled, the Mustangs came out on top, 1-0, on a goal scored by Vincent Czeropski.
The championship would not be any easier than the first matchup.
But the Mustangs were able to shut out the SC Red once again, and Mario Rubacalva provided the eventual game-winning goal 25 minutes into the first half.
However, Munoz said goalie, Juan Montemayor, stood out just as much as the players who scored.
“He deserves just as much credit,” he said. “He came up clutch the whole tournament and only allowed two goals in four games.”
Along with the goalie’s efforts, Munoz said that the defense had three shutout games, the midfielders distributed the ball well and controlled the pace of the game and the forwards did a great job of capitalizing on opportunities. Munoz added that his players put forth a bona fide team effort.
“I can’t say that anyone truly stood out over the rest,” he said. “It was really the whole team that stood out. Especially in that semifinal game, it took everyone on the team to make it past it.”
The Mustangs now head into the District II Spring Cup in Morgan Hill during the first weekend of June.