After a long battle ending in two 10 minute overtimes and additional penalty kicks, the Delhi Hawks lost their chance to make the finals, and clench the Division V SJS Section Championship. The Hawks faced the Riverbank Bruins at Riverbank High, and kept up a tie 1-1 game throughout the entire match beginning from the first half.
Armando Rodriguez of the Bruins was the first to score within the first 11 minutes of the game. The Hawks then emphasized their defense, and continually were able to keep the ball on their half of the field for the next 10 minutes. Isaias Cervantes was the first player on Delhi’s team to put a scoring goal within the 20th minute of the half. Riverbank no longer eased up on their defensive strategies, and continued to enhance their intensity after feeling the pressure of Cervantes’ goal. The Hawks remained tied 1-1 within the first half, and throughout the rest of the game.
After two 10 minute overtimes, the teams were forced to sudden death over penalty kicks due to the setting sun. With little time to spare, Oscar Maldonado, Erik Tapia, Sergio Espindola, and Pedro Arellano were able to put up one penalty point each, matching the Bruins 4-4 penalty tie. Eventually, the Hawks missed one goal that put their chances of a championship to rest.
“They had their chances, we had our chances. But again, it wasn’t for us tonight,” Delhi’s head coach Armando Salazar said of the tie breaking game, recalling that both teams had close calls throughout the match that could have turned the game around quickly.
“There is nothing to be ashamed of,” he told his players just seconds after Riverbank scored the winning goal.
“Both teams played well. That is why we are both here. We had a caliber. Somebody has to lose. We were just hoping it was going to be them.”
Riverbank and Delhi were equal contenders in speed, stamina, and ball control. Just the year before, Delhi was in the same position. They were contenders in the semi-finals, and only bested by being knocked out the competition by penalty kicks. Regardless, Salazar believes that his team had a great run.
“They did great. I am proud of every single one of them. They didn’t give up. They gave a hundred percent and more,” Salazar said. “I told them at the beginning if we lose, we lose with our head up. And that’s what we are going to do.”