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Honkers claim battle with Colusa
Time and time again the Willows High boys soccer team swarmed the Colusa goal in the first half, blasting shot after shot at what seemed to be an impenetrable defense.
On the rare occasion the Honkers beat goalkeeper Fernando Amador, who made an astounding 16 saves, the RedHawk defenders were there to clear the ball out with inches to spare.
Eventually, the Honkers (8-2) broke through in the second half and earned a 3-2 Sacramento Valley League-II victory under the lights at Willows High on Wednesday.
"I've always told them we have to be patient. It's 80 minutes on the field and we have to just be patient and look for our opportunities, they're going to go in eventually," Willows coach Jose Cano said.
Colusa's defense played an incredible first half and entered halftime tied 0-0 despite non-stop pressure by Willows. Fullbacks Fernando Morales, Pedro Lopez and Ryan Manning took turns swooping in behind Amador to clear away rebounds and deflected shots, often taking the ball off the chalk of the goal line while the Honkers stacked the box.
With so many opportunities and nothing to show for it, the Honkers were frustrated but never lost faith in themselves or their teammates.
"We did dominate the whole game, I believe it was anywhere from 75 to 85 percent possession. We were just persistent the entire time," Cano said.
The scoring finally opened up in the second half, but it was Colusa that found the net first.
Forward Adrian Garcia beat two defenders up the left sideline and sent a beautiful crossing pass to Gustavo Sanchez, who blasted the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute.
The Honkers quickly responded with a goal of their own two minutes later on a pass from David Gonzalez to Christian Zepeda, who kicked it in.
"It was pretty frustrating, we couldn't score. We just did our thing and took shots," Zepeda said.
Zepeda scored his second goal of the game in the 58th minute, threading the ball inside the post for a 2-1 Honkers' lead.
Gonzalez added a much-needed insurance goal in the 68th minute with a bicycle-kick off a rebound in traffic for a two-goal lead.
Colusa closed the gap to one goal on a breakaway by Garcia with two minutes remaining in regulation, but the Honkers kept the RedHawks from scoring again.
Willows out-shot Colusa 28-to-13 in the game, but most of those shot came in the first half. At halftime, Colusa coach Dan Kiely shifted to a 4-4-2 formation that gave the RedHawks better control of the ball in the midfield, where they were dominated in the first half.
"It kind of slowed them down a little bit. (The 4-4-2 formation) generally doesn't give our offense more of a chance with only two forwards up top, but we actually had more opportunities in the second half with only two forwards," Kiely said.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.