Hoisting a second consecutive section high school soccer title won’t come easy for the McLane High School boys’ team.
Down 2-1 at halftime, the top-seeded Highlanders roared back with three, unanswered goals on its home turf to stave off a gutsy Orosi High team for a 5-2 quarterfinal victory.
McLane coach Ramiro Terán has been through these deficits before, so he knew a few adjustments would provide the winning strategy.
It took Emerson Hernández second goal of the match (a shot that found the far net that first appeared to be a pass) to draw McLane even at the 62nd-minute mark; a booming left-footed shot by Juan Flores a minute later; and, Iván Alanis putting the finishing touch on a goal with less than 4 minutes left in the 80-minute contest played on a field that had been dampened by recent rain.
McLane will host Lindsay in a semifinal game at 6 p.m. Friday (Feb. 24).
“Yes and no,” replied Terán when asked if he was worried with the 2-1 halftime deficit. “Yes, because obviously we were down; and, no because these guys have fought before. We’ve been down in many games and we’ve come back to win it.”
The defense broke down in the 16th minute of the game when Orosi High’s Roy Vargas picked up a loose ball and found McLane goalkeeper Luis Enríquez caught in no-man’s land. The shot trickled into the net to give the Cardinals an early lead.
Hernández put back a rebound to tie the game in the 31st minute; but, Orosi’s Hugo Soto answered with a goal to give the visiting team a 2-1 halftime advantage.
These guys have a lot of heart, they were fighting for each other, and they have a lot of trust in each other. That is what makes this team very unique.
Terán said some adjustments had to be made at halftime. He hopes to focus on those changes in time for Friday’s semifinal match.
“These guys have a lot of heart, they were fighting for each other, and they have a lot of trust in each other,” said Terán. “That is what makes this team very unique.”
Terán, whose 2016 team claimed the school’s first section title in boys’ soccer since the program launched in 1971, said the team has a big target on its back because of its top ranking.
“We have to fight; we have to do our thing,” said Terán.
McLane’s Steve Ramírez suffered an ankle injury early in the second half. He hopes to be back in time for Friday’s match.
Orosi finished its season with a 19-9 record.
Terán called Orosi a fine team, and said its soccer players gave McLane fits throughout the game.