The Nogales Apaches shut out the Rio Rio Hawks 3-0 in boys high school soccer on Wednesday afternoon on the strength of goals by Steven Yubeta, Blas Lohr and Marco Amador, and the goalkeeping of Nickolas Molina.
Playing on their home field, the Hawks had an early scoring opportunity on a shot by Jahaziel Estrada that went just right of the goal. Then, with 33:19 left the first half, Yubeta put Nogales on top 1-0 by taking a short feed from Lohr, splitting Rio Rico’s defense and finding the back of the net with a low shot to the far corner.
Lohr made it 2-0 with 21:06 remaining in the half when a botched give-and-go attempt left a bouncing ball near the top of the penalty area. He settled the ball and blasted a low shot from just inside the 18-yard line.
The Hawks had a another chance 10 minutes later when Estrada lofted a free kick in front of the Nogales goal and Molina, temporarily distracted by a Rio Rico player rushing in after the ball, had to make a diving save.
Rio Rico goalkeeper Alejandro Flores also had several leaping and diving saves in the half to keep the score close.
The teams played to a draw in the second half until finally, with 1:25 left on the clock, Amador got an open look at the Rio Rico net and launched a strike from behind the penalty arc into the upper corner.
With the victory, Nogales raised its record on the season to 2-1. The Apaches opened the campaign with a 2-1 win over Sunnyside on Feb. 4 in Tucson, with Juan Velasquez scoring both NHS goals. On Feb. 9, they lost 1-0 in overtime at Rincon/University.
The Hawks fell to 0-1-1. They opened their 2021 season on Monday in Tucson, where they fought Amphitheater to a 3-3 overtime tie. Estrada, David Ramirez and Omar Vasquez scored the RRHS goals in that contest.
Nogales is next scheduled to play at Tanque Verde on Friday, then they host Mountain View Marana at 5 p.m. on Feb. 16.
Rio Rico was scheduled to play Desert View on Thursday, then host Flowing Wells at 6 p.m. on Feb. 16 and Walden Grove at noon on Feb. 20.