Boys Soccer put on a heroic performance in the playoffs on Thursday night in a true road game at Marble Falls. Lanier was looking for revenge as their 2017 season ended in an overtime loss to the same opponent. This time the Vikings grabbed an early lead when Shelove Dorsainvil turned home a Rodrigo Suarez cross in the 2nd phase of a corner kick. Lanier took up a defensive posture and set up to hold their goal advantage with Mario Gomez and Martin Ugarte anchoring the midfield area in front of the defensive line. Chris Torres, Michael Varela, Erick Sarmiento, Agustin Ugarte, and Ivan Lopez were all called upon to make tackles and lay their bodies on the line to frustrate the Marble Falls attack.
The boys made it to half-time with a a 1-0 lead having conceded sterile possession to the opposition. Marble Falls continued to pour forward in the 2nd half looking for an equalizer, and this created chances for Lanier’s attacking players to express themselves as Melvin Andrade, Brayan Garcia, and Luis Lopez all found more time on the ball. Before Lanier could grab a crucial 2nd goal though, it was Marble Falls who found the back of the net on a corner kick as Jorge Nava had no chance to stop an open header from 3 yards.
Lanier battled back and held on for their lives at times to keep the match tied at 1-1. The best chance of the remaining time was created by Shelove dribbling past three defenders on the right flank before squaring to Luis whose shot from the penalty spot blazed inches over the crossbar. The match was ultimately decided on penalties, and the three scored by Luis, Melvin, and Martin (coupled with an incredible diving save by Jorge) were unfortunately 2nd best.
The Class of 2018 will graduate as one of the most successful in Boys Soccer history. Their achievement of reaching the Playoffs in back to back seasons has set a new standard for the program, and they are the first Lanier team in memory to be undefeated through the non-district portion of the season as they won or tied the first 12 matches of the year. Their 53 goals scored in 21 games is a record high during my tenure as Head Coach.
As a coaching staff we are most proud though of their achievements in the classroom and the real world. Most of our boys held part-time jobs during the season, an astonishing fact to consider in the context of competing for three full months against teams that hold more full-practices with players who have more time to rest and recover between matches. While juggling all of these commitments, they excelled academically. Four of our seniors were named Academic All-State for being in the top 10% of their graduating class and three were recently awarded the prestigious Moody Scholarship. Eleven of our 14 seniors plan to attend college in the Fall – another boys soccer record. I am proud of their high school careers, and I believe their strong character and ability to overcome adversity will carry them to success in every future endeavor they choose.