Warriors fall short of state bid

May 8, 2019

The Schuyler Central High School Warriors boys soccer team came up just short in its bid for a return to the state soccer tournament in a 2-1 nail-biter loss to the Lexington Minutemen in the Class B-3 District Final held in Lexington last Saturday.

That loss came on the heels of a 3-0 loss to South Sioux City in the second round of the Class B-3 sub-district tournament held in South Sioux City earlier in the week.

Despite that defeat, Schuyler had a good enough regular season to advance into the sub-state round. Still, moving to the district final meant the No. 14 seed and a match with No. 3 Lexington.

Lexington scored a goal in the first half to take a 1-0 lead to intermission then scored early in the second half for a 2-0 cushion.

The never-say-die Warriors scored in the 70th minute when standout Gregorio Ramon booted the ball past Lexington goalkeeper Eduardo Gomez with an assist from Yonathan Lara, but the Warriors couldn’t generate the equalizer and ended the season with a mark of 9-7.

Schuyler Central head coach Lyndon Beebe said he felt his team matched up well against the powerful Minutemen.

“I thought we played well enough to win the match,” he said. “We had some unfortunate bounces of the ball that really helped Lexington. Their strength was their forwards, and I thought we did a great job of keeping them in check.”

Beebe also had high praise for Lexington.

“They are one of the best teams in the state regardless of class. So to lose to them 2-1 is a reflection of how good we are and how much we have improved this season,” he said

Three of the Warriors’ seven losses came to teams in the state tournament field.

“I am really proud of our team,” said Beebe. “I also want to thank the people who made the trip out to Lexington for the match. We really appreciated their support.”

In the sub-district match against the Cardinals of South Sioux City four days ealier, the Warriors fell behind 2-0 in the first half and never recovered against the top team in the Lincoln Journal Star ratings. South Sioux rode goals by Jordi Mariscal, Jose Ruiz, and Fabian Diaz to a 3-0 triumph.

The Warriors have found it difficult to put a notch in the victory column against the Cardinals in recent years but felt that they were more than capable of pulling off the upset this time around.

“I was pleased with how well we played for the most part,” Beebe said. “We knew that they would try to outnumber us in the middle. We didn’t allow a goal from the field, but we didn’t do a good job defending set pieces. I really like how we stood up to pressure and possessed the ball.

“It wasn’t like we were back on our heels all match and had to bail out on each possession. We progressed the ball as best we could, and compared to last year, I felt we were equal to South Sioux City in many areas. We’d really like a chance to play against them again.”

The Cardinals went on to win the sub-district with a 1-0 victory overElkhorn Mount Michael but were stunned in the district final losing to 15th-seeded North Platte by a score of 1-0 preventing them from a chance at defending their state title of a year ago.

Doug Phillips is a freelance writer for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net.