It took the Rio Rico boys 12 minutes to score their first goal in last Friday’s varsity soccer matchup against Vista Grande, but they only gained momentum after that.
When the Hawks netted their eighth goal with about eight minutes remaining in the second half – the Vista Grande Spartans were still scoreless – referees called the game off.
“It was a big win,” said Rio Rico coach Jimmy Navarro. “Kids are more motivated after a few positive results, so they can feel the good vibe and I hope that we can continue this winning streak.”
Seven different players scored for RRHS; the Hawks’ multiple-goal scorer was speedy sophomore striker Abner Dicochea, who netted two goals and an assist.
Omar Vasquez drew first blood for the Hawks, putting them on top at the 12:14 mark.
Dicochea’s first goal came about 18 minutes later, when he controlled the ball near midfield and outran the Spartans defense before beating the goalkeeper from close range.
Barely a minute later, David Ramirez beat his defender to get an open shot on net, which was turned away. But Ramirez followed through for a goal on the rebound, giving RRHS a 3-0 lead that they took into halftime.
While the Hawks attack was productive, they were also jumpy, drawing at least five offsides whistles in the first half.
Offense also proved to be the best defense for Rio Rico; they dominated possession and kept the ball in their attacking end for most of the game. When the Spartans did get scoring opportunities, including several chances at the beginning of the second half, Rio Rico’s freshman goalie Alejandro Flores turned them away.
The Hawks began to pull away decisively with a flurry of goals starting about 15 minutes into the second half
Dicochea got things going with a play that started with a pass to Gabriel Cluff. Cluff controlled the ball, then sent it back to Dicochea, who buried a goal with 24:57 remaining in the game.
A minute later, Jovanni Pantoja crossed a ball in front of the net to a waiting Angel de Jesus Duarte, who knocked it in.
With about 22 minutes left in the half, Dicochea slid a pass through the Spartans defense to a streaking Carlos Vasquez, who beat the Vista Grande goalie with a low shot.
Two minutes later, Jahaziel Estrada scored on a free kick from just above the 18-yard line, firing a shot that bounced off the crossbar, down and into the net.
Rio Rico carried the 7-0 lead for another 12 minutes, until Robert Villegas beat a defender down the left wing and found the back of the net with 7:56 remaining.
At that point, refs called for “game over.”
‘Not over yet’
The Jan. 24 home win followed a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory the night before at Pueblo. The Hawks won that game on goals by Dicochea and Estrada.
Navarro said the positive results were a chance for his team to turn things around.
“This was our opportunity to get back into the winning track,” he said after Friday’s game.
And, he added: “I told them, ‘You know what, we won this night, but the season is not over yet. I mean, celebrate tonight, but on Monday, nothing happened.’”
Last week’s results left the Hawks with a 2-5 regular season record. They’re 2-0 in 4A Conference play.
The team’s next action is set for Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m., when they’ll face the Douglas Bulldogs, the state’s top-ranked 4A team, at home.