The Tiger soccer team came home at last, appropriately during Homecoming Week, after opening their season with four road matches dating back nearly a month. Facing off against 4A Silver High, our young Tiger team battled in what was arguably their best yet performance against this large-school team, ultimately losing the match, 0-3.
In an energetic match held on a hot afternoon, the Tigers came out strong, denying several shots on goal from the visitors. While driving hard on offense, they were unable to gain field position to make open shots during the opening minutes of the match. It was six minutes into the first half that Silver, after repeated attempts were successfully blocked by Tiger goalkeeper Jesus Rios, was able to finally drive one into the net, and followed it with two more goals in the closing few minutes of the first half.
Time and again, Colt attempts on goals were blocked, and even more times their drives to gain position to attempt shots were broken up by active Tiger defenders who managed to take the ball away, sometimes with ease.
Midway through the first half, on a pass to the side, Joaquin Guaderrama managed a quick drive followed by a shot on goal from the right side. Though blocked, the attempt energized the Tiger offense. Though unable to find the back of the net, solid attempts were made by Baruc Palacious, Rodrigo Reyes, Daniel Garcia and Ethan Kalminson.
Though the Silver team scored three times in the first half, the Tigers completely stymied every attempt to put the ball into the net in the second half. Tiger athletes were reading each other’s moves on defense better with each passing minute.
It was defense that gave these Tigers one of their best outings so far this season, though not a win, holding their opponent to three goals and scoreless for an entire half brought cheers for the fans in the stands and praise from their coaches.
Deft fieldwork was on hand from the entire cast, freshman Rocio Reyes and sophomore Iris Castaneda both stripped the ball away from the bigger Silver players almost at will, as did Pedro Reyes, Miguel Guaderrama and Isabella Kalminson. All in all, it was a solid, balanced team effort.
On a Tiger team without a single senior, and just a pair of juniors, the bulk of veterans on the team are sophomores, with some energetic freshmen, most of who competed in last year’s abbreviated season as eighth-grade rookies, this is a Tiger team filled with enormous potential going forward this season and beyond. With nearly half the team being freshmen and varsity-ready eighth graders, there is time for this team to grow together, continuing gaining skills and ever greater soccer IQ. As for that most important and intangible quality, that of bonding tighter together as a team-family of Tigers, this is probably as tightly knit group of athletes to wear Tiger uniforms.
Next up for these intrepid Tigers is a pair of matches against the Questa Wildcats. With the distances involved, Questa being well north of Taos in the northwest, both schools asked that the matches be moved to a neutral site, between the two. Both the Monday, September 13 and Saturday, September 18 matches will be held at Bernalillo High, at 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. respectively. The next time we will be able to see the Tigers at home in Tiger Stadium will be Tuesday, September 21 when they face Oak Grove for a 4:00 p.m. match.