It would be hard to imagine two more different opponents than the Pahrump Valley High School boys soccer team faced last week.
Two days after pounding an overmatched Somerset Academy-Losee team 16-0, the Trojans faced a far more skilled Equipo Academy team that had tied two Class 4A schools in its first three games. The Sunset League newcomer took advantage of a weak first half by the Trojans and recorded a 3-1 victory Thursday at Trojan Field.
“I was expecting a good game,” Pahrump Valley coach Chris Roberts said. “From some of the teams they played and things like that it’s not a team that I feel we can’t beat. They played well, and we made a few mistakes. We’ll learn from it and get better.”
The Trojans came out flat and spent most of the first half chasing down the Yeti. It seemed as if the visitors got to every loose ball first and rarely misplayed a ball, while the Trojans seemed to be a half-step short for the entire 40 minutes.
“We were a little flat-footed in the beginning; they were beating us to the ball,” Roberts said. “You can be kind of lulled to sleep by the game prior to this one.”
Roberts is talking about a Losee game in which three players recorded hat tricks and nine players put the ball in the net at least once.
“I didn’t even try to score that many goals,” said Roberts, whose team took an 11-0 lead at the half. “But it’s hard to contain the boys from going, especially when I put all my defenders up front. We’re thin as it is, so it’s not like I can substitute everyone out.”
Whatever the cause of the slow start, the Yeti took advantage with 2 goals barely more than a minute apart midway through the opening half. The second, off of a rebound, suggested a blowout was brewing.
But the Trojans came out a different team in the second half and provided the kind of toss-up game Roberts had anticipated. Suddenly the Trojans were battling better, not getting caught a step short and in general playing like contenders who came in unbeaten through three games.
And when sophomore Christian Mott hit what in tennis would be called a swinging volley of a pass from junior Rafael Nunez to cut the Yeti’s lead in half 10 minutes into the second half, it was anybody’s game.
“I switched my formation,” Roberts said of the different look the Trojans gave after halftime. “They were bringing in a rover and he was playing high, so I brought in another midfielder and switched to a 4-5-1.”
The Trojans created more scoring opportunities after halftime thanks to the switch. Mott had two more shots, one a grounder on goal and one a quick shot that went wide, and senior Abraham Alvarez hit the post in the 70th minute.
But the equalizer was not in the cards, and when Equipo counterattacked after defending a Pahrump Valley throw-in into the box and went the length of the field for a 3-1 lead, the game was over with roughly 3:30 remaining.
It was not the cleanest game in the world, as both teams received multiple yellow cards. And several calls both made and not made also raised the ire of the sidelines, especially when senior Koby Lindberg made what looked like a perfect tackle midway through the second half only to get called for a foul.
“We had a few things not go our way, to be nice about it,” Roberts said with a laugh. “You can’t leave it to the refs, and that’s just how it goes.”
The call gave the Yeti a free kick that resulted in a shot on goal, although Pahrump Valley keeper Ulises Salazar made the easy save. Salazar finished with 6 saves, most notably gathering in a ground ball in traffic in the 46th minute and punching away a 30-yard shot in the 66th minute.
Roberts said the key takeaway from the game was learning from mistakes, as the third-year coach does not look ahead during the season. It’s strictly one game at a time for the Trojans, now 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Sunset League.
Next up for Pahrump Valley is a trip today to face Doral Academy in Las Vegas. Doral Academy is an associate member of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association awaiting full membership, when it will be a Class 3A school. Doral is 1-1 playing an independent schedule this season, defeating Adelson 6-0 and losing 5-0 to Virgin Valley. Game time at Doral Academy is 4:30 p.m.
High school cross country: Beatty senior Jose Granados finished seventh and Pahrump Valley senior Grant Odegard placed 10th in the Larry Burgess-Las Vegas Invitational Small School Division on Saturday at Sunset Park.
Granados finished the 3-mile course in 16 minutes, 28.5 seconds, while Odegard covered it in 16:47.7. The Trojans finished seventh among 13 teams, finishing with 162 points. Hurricane, Utah, dominated the division, finishing with 22 to second-place Valley’s 114.
Seniors Brandon Ruud (18:10.4), Renaldo Flores (19:23.9), Keegan Thomie (21:22.1), Ramon Yabra (22:05.4) and Cyle Havel (23:10.7) also ran for the Trojans.
On the girls side, senior Nrsringa Breathwaite (26:04.7), junior Juliana Hemphill (26:14.9) and senior Shanniah Tripp (31:50.4) ran for Pahrump Valley.
Seniors Andrew Hope (21:56.5), Kaden Vitto (25:12.9), Ian Kingsley (25:17.6), Josh Metcalf (26:57.7) and Asher Thomas (32:16.1) ran in the Boys Varsity B race, while freshman Ulises Sotelo (20:48.2), Vincent Martinez (21:10.7), Jacob Gray (22:36.2), Gavin Schudel (27:58.4) and Sean Gray (27:58.4) competed in the Boys Frosh/Soph race.
Sophomores Hillary Valencia Vidales (24:48.5), Stephanie Frias-Esparza (27:53.2) and Beverly Roundy (29:02.0) and freshman Lynnly Jackson (30:50.7) ran in the Girls Frosh/Soph race.
Middle school cross country: Rosemary Clarke Middle School ran a 1.25-mile course and finished fifth in a nine-team field. Seventh-grader Caleb Sierra-Hudgens paced the Sharks, finishing 16th in 7:42.0. Sixth-grader Aydon Veloz finished in 8:10.7, while seventh-graders Owen (8:23.0) and Cullen (8:24.7) Waldrop joined him in the top 40.
Seventh-grader Ryleigh Denton finished seventh for the Sharks girls, running 8:16.9. Seventh-graders Khylarann Park (8:43.4), Jordan Onigkeit (9:41.1) and Analise Veloz (10:01.4) and eighth-grader Hannah Hemphill (9:59.7) also finished in the top 40.
Girls soccer: Madelyn Souza posted a hat trick as Pahrump Valley bounced back from its first loss of the season on Thursday with a 9-1 rout of Somerset Academy-Sky Pointe on Friday.
Souza also recorded an assist, while Kaylee Mendoza and Adryanna Avena-Caraballo each tallied 2 goals and 1 assist for the Trojans (5-1-2). Makayla Gent and Kaylee Vega also scored for Pahrump Valley, which led 7-1 at halftime.
A day earlier, Boulder City (5-2) scored two second-half goals to hand Pahrump Valley its first loss of the season.
Avena-Caraballo and Kiara Ramos scored for the Trojans, with Gent and Souza getting the assists.