BARSTOW • All it took was one minute for the Barstow High School boys soccer team to find itself in defense mode on Friday.
The Silverado Hawks and Barstow Aztecs ended their first Desert Sky League game of 2011 with a 1-1 draw. The Hawks were on the attack when an uncoordinated ball rolled across the goal. Barstow's defender Felipe Pena went for the ball, but was unaware of keeper Marcos Espinosia's rush for the save. The two Aztecs collided and provided an easy tap in for a goal by the Hawks' Eric Ballard. The goal put Barstow down 1-0 in the opening minute of the game.
"It was basically us putting pressure and Ray Martinez hit the ball and created the chance for Ballard," SIlverado coach Brice Lugo said. "It was just a little put in. It was a lucky goal, but it did the job."
Barstow stayed on the defensive for much of the game, while also putting together counter attacks. The Aztecs' defense was anchored by their keeper. Espinosia had 12 saves in the game including several diving saves to keep Barstow in the game.
"He's by far the best keeper in the league," Barstow coach Terri Peralta said. "He's like a rubber man. He can just reach everywhere in the net. There isn't anything he can't save except times where the ball gets caught up in traffic and deflected or on some penalty kicks."
Barstow's perseverance and patience paid off in the 25th minute when they equalized. The Aztecs' David Saldana sent a pass across the field that was slightly tipped by a Silverado defender, but still found its intended target — Raul Espinosia. Espinosia got the ball near the back post behind the Hawks keeper and put the ball in the net to tie the game.
The Aztecs kept the momentum on their side after the goal and were able to keep pressure on the Hawks' defense in the final 15 minutes. Barstow came close to winning the game on a cross from Espinosia to Kgosi Kesilue in the 39th minute. Kesilue got a foot on the ball within five yards of the box, but the keeper was right on him. The two battled, but Kesilue was unable to get the winning goal despite a strong effort.
Barstow will continue DSL play when it takes on Granite Hills on Wednesday at 3 p.m.