Jim Fossum – Sports Lincoln County
The Taft High boys soccer team solidified its postseason standing Monday, while the girls were eliminated from playoff consideration in two games against Salem Academy delayed by lightning at Voris Field.
Joel Maldonado and Gabe Arce-Torres scored two goals each, and Cesar Fajardo and Logan Merry also found the net in the boys’ 6-0 Special District 2 victory over the Crusaders (1-11, 0-11). The Lady Tigers (5-6-1, 5-5-1) lost to Salem Academy (3-10, 3-8) 3-1 in a Special District 3 game.
“We had great passing last night,” boys co-coach Nicole James said. “We moved the ball around the field very well.”
Taft’s boys (7-2-3, 6-2-3) scored three goals in each half in wet and windy conditions behind junior goalie Sammy Islas.
“We also had stellar defensive performance, particularly by Gavin Ceballos,” James said. “His speed at sweeper has saved us from goals being scored this season numerous times.”
Taft’s scoring output surpassed last season’s offensive totals, said James, whose third-place Tigers will compete Saturday, Oct. 29, in the District playoffs to determine seeding at State.
Meanwhile, the Taft girls, who will conclude their season Thursday at first-place Blanchet Catholic (10-2, 10-0), narrowly missed the postseason.
“I really thought with the girls getting some time to relax over the long weekend we would come out strong,” Taft coach Joey Arce-Torres said. “With the rain delay and a much improved Salem Academy team, we came out flat.”
The Crusaders scored three first-half goals and junior midfielder Naomi Rini tallied Taft’s lone goal in the second half of the 3-1 defeat.
“We missed a penalty kick that could have changed the momentum. It just wasn’t our night,” Arce-Torres said.
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