Lanier Boys Soccer celebrated Senior Night with a scrappy 1-0 win over McCallum at a packed Nelson Field Tuesday night. The stage was set for an emotional final district game for the ten seniors who have brought Lanier to its first playoff appearance in several years. Seniors Felix Santana, Nahum Quiroz, Oscar Torres, Eduardo Tavira, David Villarruel, Danny Vargas, Henrry Orantes, Jared Salas, Cristhian Amador, and Josue Maldonado were joined on the field by their parents and family members in a pre-match ceremony. The Vikings struggled to produce a vintage performance to match the occasion but will be relieved to have found a way to win their third game in a row heading into playoffs.
Lanier started very slowly and struggled to settle into the match. Keeper Felix Santana was twice forced into diving saves to keep McCallum out. The team struggled to keep possession and the back four had plenty of work to do led by the efforts of Senior full backs Oscar Torres and David Villarruel. At the other end of the field, Danny Vargas and Henrry Orantes combined to create some of Lanier’s best chances, but the Vikings could find no way through and felt fortunate to make it to halftime with the game still scoreless.
In the 2nd half, Lanier started much more quickly as Henrry played a through ball to Edgar Mejia cutting inside from the right wing for the Vikings first real opportunity to score just 3 minutes into the half. Edgar beat his marker and set up a left footed shot that the keeper got down to well to save. Lanier pushed on from there and created chance after chance that Shelove Dorsainvil, Mejia, and Vargas were unable to finish due to last ditch defending or excellent goalkeeping. Lanier had the better of the possession and chances, but appeared headed to a frustrating 0-0 draw with time running out. With just four minutes remaining Danny Vargas played a lobbed past behind the center backs that Shelove raced onto in the box. The charging keeper was quick off his line and made a lunging tackle before Shelove could get his shot away. The ball rebounded kindly to an alert Martin Ugarte who finished calmly to claim the Senior Night victory.
The Vikings will now have more than two weeks to prepare for the State Playoffs which begin March 23-25.