Doral Academy is a newcomer to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, not yet ready for full membership but apparently destined to eventually be a Class 3A school.
But as the new kid on the block, most of the Dragons’ opponents know little about them, but the Pahrump Valley High School boys soccer team had an edge.
“One of the kids on their team is my friend, and we play club soccer together here in Vegas,” sophomore Christian Mott said. “We’re pretty close. I knew his capabilities. We didn’t know much about them as a team, but personally I knew a little bit about them because I had my friend on the team.”
And Mott was not shy about sharing what he knew with his teammates.
“Since Mott knew a couple of players from the team he kept telling us and kept warning us, ‘Oh, this kid is fast,’ or, ‘This kid can play the ball well,’ and stuff like that,” senior Abraham Alvarez said. “He got us prepared for this team.”
But after the game was over, some of that seemed like a waste of time, as the Trojans needed no inside information to face the Dragons.
Mott recorded a hat trick Wednesday, pushing his team-leading total to 8 goals, and added an assist as the Trojans jumped all over the Dragons early and coasted to 5-0 win.
“They had a couple of decent players that could control the ball, but there wasn’t an offensive threat, really,” Pahrump Valley coach Chris Roberts said. Trojans keeper Ulises Salazar needed to make just 2 saves to earn the shutout.
The Trojans misfired on several point-blank opportunities, and several shots were sent over the low fence and on to the street adjoining the school.
“I missed a few chances that I should have scored on, and I will be scoring on those in the middle of the season,” Mott said.
But he didn’t miss during the 23rd minute, when he took a pass from Christopher Vega and fired it past Doral’s goalkeeper. Mott had another good chance a few minutes later, as Rafael Nunez got the ball to him in front of the net, but Mott sent it way over the crossbar.
“He had a bunch of nice goals,” Roberts said of Mott. “Some small opportunities we should have finished, but you have to shoot to score. The more attempts you take, the more opportunities you have to score.”
Indeed, Mott took half of the Trojans’ 18 shots, and it wasn’t long before Mott had another good chance, and this time he cashed in, taking a pass from Pablo Castro in the 33rd minute and giving the Trojans a 2-0 lead.
The play was set up by another strong throw-in from senior Koby Lindberg, who takes most of Pahrump Valley’s throw-ins and goal kicks. Several times during the game, a throw-in was held up as Lindberg trotted up from his position on the back line to take a throw-in deep in Doral’s end of the field.
“He’s a key player on a lot of our set pieces,” Roberts said. “We have a lot more opportunities on goal from set pieces from him. We actually set that up.”
Lindberg created other scoring chances with strong throw-ins, but the Trojans had as much trouble getting a head on the ball from point-blank range as they did keeping shots below the crossbar.
Alvarez made it 3-0 with an assist from Mott before the end of the half, and the Trojans were in control.
“I feel the difference was today we had a more organized team,” Alvarez said. “We were pushing the ball around more, we were talking more, we were just more into the game.”
The fourth goal was an own goal, as Doral sent the ball into its own net after Mott sent a dangerous ball toward the goal. The goal left Mott and Roberts half-joking about awarding an assist on the play, but the bottom line was the game was practically over. Mott scored the final goal of the game unassisted.
Being on the receiving end of balls that give him a chance to score, Mott doesn’t hesitate when asked who sets him up the best.
“Abraham,” he said, denying that was because Alvarez was standing 2 feet away. “In the beginning of the season, to be honest, I was a little iffy about if he was going to pass me the ball. But Abraham has shown me he will pass the ball. He’s a team player. He wants to score, obviously, but he wants to win as a team.”
With his goal and assist Wednesday, Alvarez cemented his position as the team’s No. 2 scorer with 6 goals and 2 assists, just ahead of Vega, who has a team-leading 5 assists to go along with 3 goals.
Pahrump Valley (4-1, 1-1 Sunset), returns to league play at 4 p.m. today at Mojave. Alvarez believes the Trojans are in good position to tackle anyone in the Sunset.
“I feel we have a very good chance of beating any team we play,” Alvarez said. “If we play how we can play, to our potential, I feel we an win this league. We’re still working on it, still trying to know each other on the field, but I feel we can get to that stage.”