Forward Carlos Martinez made SSHS soccer coach Andy Holt’s substitution pattern pay big dividends Friday night.
Holt re-inserted Martinez onto the pitch with less than 22 minutes left in Friday’s District 20-4A showdown with Greenville, and he responded with two goals in less than a minute. Martinez then had the Wildcat fans waving their toboggans in the air on the cold, windy night when he turned a hat track with a little over three minutes remaining to seal Sulphur Springs’ 3-0 victory at Gerald Prim Stadium. Martinez, Leo Becerra and Roberto Juarez share striker duties, and when Sulphur Springs was about to attempt a corner kick with 21:22 to play in a scoreless tie, Holt put Martinez in to try to win the ball in the air off the kick by Juan Juarez. He did.
“We’ve got a pretty good rotation working with Carlos, Leo and Roberto,” Holt said. “I wanted to get Carlos in and it worked out in the corner situation. I thought he would be better heading it in than Leo, and he did a great job getting in there. Coach Peek told him when he got it to head it down, and that’s what he did — he won the ball and headed it down. Those are tough for a keeper to handle.”
Despite dominating the first 60 minutes of the game, the Wildcats were unable to score until Martinez’s header. Then, the dam broke open.
Less than a minute later, Martinez gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead when he headed a ball into the back side of the net after taking a booming free kick from Bailey Booher from about 45 yards out.
Martinez got his hat trick at the 3:06 mark when Roberto Juarez sent a pass ahead from near midfield. Martinez caught up to it outside the 18-yard box, dribbled twice and then shot it from left-to-right into the box to seal the victory.
And what an important victory it was. It improved the Wildcats to 5-1 and ties them with Greenville atop the district standings with four games remaining.
“We finished tonight when we had the chance, and that’s something we’ve got to continue to do,” Holt said. “We missed a few other chances, and we’re going to keep working on finishing. In big games, you’re not going to have a whole lot of chances, so you’ve got to finish those.
“This win puts us back at the top where we want to be. Now, it’s in our control and we’ve got to maintain our attitude and focus.”
The Wildcats had a 6-0 advantage in shots on goal in the first half, but couldn’t get a ball into the net.
Fernando Arellano’s header off a throw-in by Brad Worsham was secured by Greenville goalie Matt Mauer seven minutes into the game, then Juan Juarez’s header off a Booher free kick when wide right 10 minutes later.
Two more excellent chances – both coming off throw-ins by Worsham – were close but not successful. The first was by Arellano in the goalie box, and the other came with two minutes remaining in the half when Dylan Rutherford tried a turn-around kick from about 12 yards away, but it grazed the top of the bar.
Greenville, meanwhile, did not have a shot on goal in the first half, thanks in large part due to the defensive work of Booher, Rutherford, Chris White, Worsham, Oscar Martinez and Alejandro Arellano.
The game got chippy as each team was handed two yellow cards.
Greenville’s best two chances to score both came inside the seven-minute mark when the Lions were down 2-0. The first attempt came from 15 yards out, but SSHS goalie Ross Hicks fisted it over the top bar. On the ensuing corner kick, Hicks made another leaping save.
Hicks made four saves total on six Greenville shots on goal.
|< Prev||Next >|