Lizarraga’s tying goal likely enough to put T-birds in playoffs
BULLHEAD CITY — Nothing has come easy for the 2018-19 Mohave boys soccer team, and Monday night proved to be no different as the T-birds needed 77 minutes to score their lone goal against the Knights at Lake Havasu High School.
That lone goal by sophomore forward Josue Lizarraga was enough to tie the Knights 1-1, overtime, which should be enough to earn the T-birds an Arizona Interscholastic Association 4A Conference Play-In Tournament game against an undetermined opponent at an unknown venue on Thursday.
The T-birds headed home after Tuesday night’s tie and will find out if they earned a play-in spot at 10 a.m. today when aiaonline.org announces the play-in bracket.
The 5-4-3 overall, 3-4-3 in conference and 3-2-1 in the Grand Canyon Region No. 24-ranked T-birds have been in playoff mode ever since falling 4-1 to the No. 21-ranked Bradshaw Mountain High School Bears 4-1 on Jan. 25, which left them ranked No. 32 with the top 24 high schools slated to earn a play-in berth.
The T-birds answered the call by beating the then No. 24-ranked Lee Williams Volunteers 3-2 at Mohave on Jan. 30, before going on the road and knocking off the then No. 3-ranked Prescott Badgers on Feb. 1 and tying the No. 16-ranked Knights 1-1, OT.
When asked if the tie against the Knights will hurt his T-birds’ chances of earning a play-in berth, T-birds head coach Matt Camacho said, “It will help our power points.
“We’re at No. 24, beating Prescott will bring us into the middle of the pack.
“If anything, it’s only a positive for us.”
Knights senior midfielder/defender Axel Gamez’s goal during the 39th minute gave the 10-2 overall, 5-2-1 in conference and 2-2 in the 4A West Valley Region Havasu squad a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
Despite not scoring for pretty much the entire game, Camacho expressed confidence in his T-birds.
“We were pressing,” he said. “We were holding possession.
“There wasn’t a time when we needed to panic; we knew it was only a matter of time.”
Then, Mohave junior midfielder Eric De los Santos’ pass from the middle of the field, 50 yards from the Havasu keeper, hit Lizarraga, who was cutting diagonally from the right of De los Santos to the middle of the field, when the ball fell over his right shoulder.
It was a “perfectly placed ball,” Camacho said.
Lizarraga needed two touches to settle the ball down, before blasting the ball from 20 yards away, beating the keeper low to his right side.
Mohave senior keeper Renzo Perez made some “clutch saves to keep us in the game,” Camacho said.
Records, rankings courtesy of aiaonline.org.