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Photo by Chelsea Buchanan
The Aztecs' Fernando Vasquez (11) closes in on the ball during Tuesday's match at Barstow High School. Also pictured is the Aztecs' Richard Ebel (16), the Diamondbacks' Christian Ramirez (5), and Barstow's Charles Beason (behind Ramirez).

A wind-blown loss for Aztecs

BARSTOW • The Barstow boys soccer team had to contend with the elements as well as its opponent on Tuesday, and dropped a 2-1 decision to Serrano at Barstow High School.

Fortunately the morning rain had cleared out by game time. In its place, however, were chilly temperatures and a stiff wind that never let up, wreaking havoc with kicks and throw-ins. That wind played a part in the Diamondbacks’ first goal, which tied the game and gave the visitors some momentum to build on.

“With the wind, we missed communication,” said Aztecs head coach Terri Peralta. “Our defenseman and goalie mixed signals. We made one mistake on defense. It happens.”

Both teams spent the bulk of the match doing their best to try to keep the ball under control and in play. The Aztecs had the wind with them for the first half and took their share of shots. Raul Espinosa came close a couple of times in the first few minutes, shooting just wide and having a shot caught. Isaias Sondoval also had a shot caught, and Richard Ebel went just wide, his shot rolling across the goal mouth.

After threatening several times, the Aztecs converted with about 15 minutes left. Espinosa took a shot that the Serrano keeper came out to block. He got a hand on the ball, but it squirted away, landing near Edgar Jimenez, who finished up by lofting it over the line.
The Diamondbacks answered 10 minutes later, getting on the board just before the horn sounded. It was that miscommunication tally that tied it up, scored by Serrano’s Anthony Salcedo.

Previously, it looked like the Aztecs would go into the break with a lead, as there was a nice save shortly before the goal. A Diamondbacks player got off a shot that hit the side post, with the rebound landing right in front of the net. But before the opposition could step in and chip it in, the Aztecs’ Francisco Pina rushed to successfully clear the ball out. That left it 1-1 at halftime.

The game’s only other tally came just a few minutes into the second half. Serrano was given a free kick, taken by Alvaro Saldana. Saldana sent in a hard, point-blank shot that Aztecs keeper Simon Sanchez got a hand on, but he bobbled the ball, and it rolled into the net.

Some nice defense kept the Aztecs from scoring on their last, best opportunity. Colby Duran put in a shot on goal with about a minute left, but it was corralled by the D-backs keeper.

“That was a nice shot, right on frame, and a good save,” said Peralta.

Shots for the two teams were virtually even, with nine for Barstow and eight for Serrano. The Diamondbacks improve to 3-4-2, with the Aztecs falling to 3-6.

Despite the loss, coach Peralta is happy with the progress her team is making in a season barely underway.

“We made a couple of mistakes, but we dominated. Our passing is much better, we won more 50/50 balls,” she said. “We did a good job, under the conditions.”

The Aztecs have one more game this year, on Friday at 3 p.m. against Silverado. The first match of the new year will also be at home, on Jan. 7 against Granite Hills.

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