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Braves and Bulldogs battle to stalemate
The Los Molinos and Hamilton High boys soccer teams braved the wind and cold on Thursday evening, facing off in each team's last outing of 2012 and coming away with a 3-3 tie.
With the matchup underway, it was the Braves that came out kicking first, with Hamilton scoring the first goal a mere three minutes into play when Angel Montes drilled a shot into the back of the net.
Solid defensive play from Hamilton's Erik Torres despite the cutting wind kept the Bulldogs at bay, with Torres taking the ball away from any approaching LM players and cutting to the outside to remove any possible scoring dangers. However, Los Molinos began to counter the shots on goal being taken by the Braves, and put added pressure on the home team.
In the 25th minute, the visitors were granted a free kick with freshman forward Jose Gonzalez taking the shot - a beauty with a large arc - that passed over the Brave defenders before hitting the near post and going in, taking the score to 1-1.
The home team was determined not to be outdone and the Braves battled back, as Adrian Chavarria took the ball into the Bulldogs half of the field on his own before giving the ball a slight lob into the air and above the Los Molinos keeper during the 32nd minute. It was the last goal of the first half, with Hamilton taking the 2-1 lead.
The second half and wishing to avoid getting colder only seemed to heighten the prowess of both teams, but it was the Bulldogs that grabbed the first goal of the half when Gonzalez scored his second of the afternoon in the 52nd minute when he shot a laser from the right and into the orange mesh, tying the game at 2-2 and further lifting the level at which both teams were playing.
Los Molinos almost scored again a few minutes later, but the ball hit the far post and deflected out instead of in, as the Bulldogs and the Braves each tried to take the reins of the game's momentum.
Hamilton found the sweet spot a few minutes later, when Juan Ortiz sent in a succession of shots on goal as well as passes inside the goal box, overwhelming the Bulldog's back line. Ortiz soon hit the nail on the head when he booted the ball into the right side in the 66th minute, once again giving the home side the lead at 3-2.
Despite the clock ticking down the game was not over for either team, but especially for the Bulldogs, as the LM back line kept the Brave forwards from making further advances, with Oscar Rodriguez and Valentin Hernandez making an invisible boundary that Hamilton had difficulty crossing.
With the defense playing so well, the Bulldog offense continued to march up field and into Braves territory, culminating in a screaming shot from Gonzalez that went up and bent right before hitting the far post and making its way into the goal during the 80th minute, giving him a hat trick.
Gonzalez's third goal tied the game and even though neither team showed signs of slowing down, the clock did, with the score resting at 3-3.
Following the game, Los Molinos head coach Jose Sanchez expressed his happiness with his teams play and effort, saying, "Our team did excellent. They really worked hard, and they played better today than last week. They continue to improve each game, and I think by January they'll be even better. The whole team played well."
Hamilton coach Merced Najera was pleased with his team's outing, as well as adding things to improve upon, commenting, "They played well but let up a little in the second half. We have a week off (for the holiday) and after that it is getting back into condition, which is the main thing."
The Braves (4-0-3 overall) travel to face off against Gridley on Jan. 3, while the Bulldogs (2-2-1) host Mercy on Jan. 22
CONTACT Emily Saint-Evens at 824-7990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.