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Hawks pull off SAL soccer win over Coyotes
delhi soccer pic1
Delhis Sergio Espindola takes a rip at the goal post. Espindola helped soar his team past Denair in Mondays 1-0 win. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The heavily favored Delhi High boys soccer team was held to a single goal against Denair High, who came out ready to play defensively in Monday’s Southern Athletic League match.

It was an off day for the Hawks at home, especially in the second half, when their offense was unable to put the ball in the back of the net—missing critical opportunities, striking the pole six times, along with three missed headers, against a Coyotes team that started seven freshman and sophomores. Even after struggling, they pulled away with a 1-0 shutout.

“I am very proud of the kids and what they did. I told them that losing to Delhi 1-0 is a victory for ourselves. We played good defense,” Denair head coach Darrin Allen said. “When you have majority freshmen and sophomores out there at a time and only two seniors, it makes a big difference. The younger guys are getting a lot of experience this year; they will only get better.”

Despite controlling the pace and ball for majority of the game, the lonesome goal that would eventually be the game winner for the Hawks came within the first 10 minutes after Cosme Soto crossed it to Jorge Aguilar who netted it in.

“I think we just couldn’t put it in the back of the net all game, except for the one goal. We hit the bar, the side everywhere but the net,” Delhi head coach Armando Salazar said.

Ismael Udave and Sergio Espindola managed to control the game with their precise passing and tremendous ball handling abilities. Ten minutes into the second half, Espindola blasted a shot from the opposite corner but it bounced off the cross bar.

A few minutes later, Udave shot a rocket from 15 yards out but it hit the post. Exactly one minute after, Udave headed a perfect corner kick from Aguilar but hit it with too much power as it sailed high and away.

“When the time comes to step it up, the kids will definitely do it. They know their opponents and what is at stake. I think the hardest part where we struggled with was finishing the game,” Salazar said. “Dominating the game, we can do it with our effective passing but we will work on effective shot taking at the next practices. I hope they look at themselves and say that they must step up in the next game and should be ok.”

Denair started freshman goalkeeper Tyler Ottis  was able to hold off the Hawks offense in the second half along with the help of center backs Quentin Allen and Andrew Knapp, who cleared the ball from Delhi most of the game.

“It is all the hard training that our assistant coaches have been doing with the kids, with their experience and background of soccer, they are helping these kids' improvement week by week,” Allen said. “I want to be competitive throughout the year. Our last two games weren’t the best giving up four goals, but coming out here today after working hard last week and giving up only one is great.”

The Hawks have won four of their last five games, maintaining a first place position with an undefeated 3-0 Southern Athletic League record thus far.

Next, Denair plays LeGrand at 4 p.m. today at home. Delhi will travel to Waterford today, with the game set to begin at 4 p.m.