The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Sports

March 19, 2014

HORNETS SOCCER — Outright champs again

Hornets drop regular-season finale with 3-2 loss to Caney Creek, still finish as outright district champions

HUNTSVILLE — The Hornets didn’t have anything to lose with a district championship already in hand.

At the same time, they also didn’t want to to head into the playoffs with a loss.

Despite rallying to tie Tuesday’s match twice in the second half, the Huntsville boys lost for the first time since January with a 3-2 defeat to Caney Creek in the regular-season finale.

“We were hoping to get this game to lead into the playoffs with a win with our motivation high, but losing a game makes you learn more from your mistakes,” said Huntsville senior midfielder Marcos Moreno. “We didn’t do bad, but we made a few mistakes and they took advantage of them.”

Trailing 1-0 at the break, the Hornets pulled even near the midpoint of the second half.

Dribbling the ball in the right side of the penalty box, senior forward Diego Ruiz was tripped up and that resulted in a penalty kick for the Hornets (8-1-1 in District 39-4A play).

Senior Alejandro Ramirez stepped up to the penalty kick spot and drilled the ball to the lower right corner to pull the game even with 26:37 to go.

A little more than a minute later, Caney Creek took the lead again off a deflection.

The Hornets erased the deficit again.

Junior forward Luis Blanco was dribbling down the left sideline and streaked past a Caney Creek defender before burying the ball just inside the near post for the equalizer with 16:05 to play.

The tie didn’t last long and the Panthers scored the game-winner with 9:24 to go.

“We know this wasn’t the last game of the year,” Huntsville head coach Robert Taylor said. “This is a game where you want to evaluate yourself. You want to play well going into the playoffs, so we obviously have a few things we want to address.

“The guys played with good effort. I thought the energy was fine. I thought a lot of their decisions were OK.”

Despite the loss, the Hornets won the district championship by two games and won the league title for a third straight year.

The Huntsville boys will take on Magnolia West on Friday before kicking off the state soccer playoffs early next week against Tomball.

The date, time and venue have yet to be determined.

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