ESCOBAR’S LONE GOAL LIFTS FRIARS TO ‘SHIP

ESCOBAR’S LONE GOAL LIFTS FRIARS TO ‘SHIP

📅17 December 2015
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By Jose Terlaje

After four long years, the Friars are finally heading back to the IIAAG Boy’s High School Soccer Championship game. After defeating the George Washington Geckos 1-0, the Friars are headed to the championship for the first time since they were crowned league champions in 2011.

It was a hard fought match with both teams playing a very physical game as they battled for a shot at the championship this coming Saturday against the Harvest Christian Academy Eagles.

The Geckos knocked off the JFK Islanders in a stunning 1-0 defeat while the Friars shutdown the Dolphins over the past weekend to meet the Geckos in the semis.

Early in the first half both teams battled to set the pace of the game, with each team disrupting the other’s game plan. The Geckos had the first shot at goal with Yuh Ono blasting the ball from 35 yards out but the shot went straight to FD keeper Cameron Miles. Moments later FD’s Jake Benito had a chance to put his team on the board when he was given a free kick for being tripped up, as he weaved through the GW defense, but his kick was no good.

Later in the half, GW’s Hezekiah Cruz took advantage of defensive errors made by the Friars and found himself in 1-on-1 situations with the FD keeper but was unlucky as both shots went wide left. As the half came to an end both teams continued to constantly pressure each other’s ball handlers, trading possessions back and forth until the refs blew the whistle, ending the half nil-nil.

The Friars took over early in the second half, setting a pace that they maintained for a majority of the half. The Friars picked up their level of play and were able to get into an offensive rhythm.

FD’s Benito was able to carry the ball down the right side of the field and send a perfect low cross to Jestin Escobar who finished the shot while surrounded by a number of GW defenders, finding the back of the net and putting the Friars up 1-0 in the 48th minute.

After that moment, the Geckos offense had trouble getting anything going throughout the half as FD’s Shane Healy and Joshua Lujan consistently won the ball back for their team. The Friars were successfully using the wings to move the ball down the field but were unable capitalize whenever they found themselves inside the GW goalie box. FD’s Benito had excellent touches on the ball and controlled the pace of the FD offense.

Matriix Dydasco heads the ball up and over Friars' Vincent Cruz.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Matriix Dydasco heads the ball up and over Friars’ Vincent Cruz. (photo by Daniel Paran)

The physical nature of the match led to the Geckos being given a number of free kicks but they were unable to make use of their set pieces. In the final moments of the match, the Geckos had a chance to equalize the score after being given a throw-in deep in the Friars’ half of the field. The Geckos were unable to make anything of it and the Friars held on to win the match 1-0.

“In the first half I think the boys were just nervous about making mistakes which actually resulted in them committing a number of them. At halftime Coach Keith and I told them they just had to relax and play their game. We told the seniors that they’re either gonna end their season tonight or continue their season on Saturday and have a chance at glory. I think that’s what made them step up in the second half. From that point I could tell that they were really focused,” said FD Coach Jonahan Romero when asked about what caused the Friars to play a better game in the second half.

The Friars take on the HCA Eagles this Saturday at 7 pm. Romero added that the Friars are going to try to heal up as much as possible from tonight’s match and plan accordingly for the Eagles who defeated them 2-1 earlier in the regular season. He says as long as the boys do their jobs individually and as a team then everything should go as planned.

Romero also added that the Friars are wishing GW’s Jacob Herring,who was injured toward the end of their match, a swift recovery and that the entire Friar squad is sending up prayers for him. Romero coaches Herrick in youth soccer league.

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Tomas Calvo crosses the ball to set up a play near the Geckos' net.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Tomas Calvo crosses the ball to set up a play near the Geckos’ net. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Nathaniel Cosico sends the ball flying to his teammates waiting on offense.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Nathaniel Cosico sends the ball flying to his teammates waiting on offense. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Ryan Quitugua connects with a pass as he makes his way to the goal.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Ryan Quitugua connects with a pass as he makes his way to the goal. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Geckos' Isaiah Macias and Friars' Tomas Calvo race to take control of the ball.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Geckos’ Isaiah Macias and Friars’ Tomas Calvo race to take control of the ball. (photo by Daniel Paran)

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