Cardinals, Panthers draw at tourney
Lindsay, Porterville and Granite Hills are top group teams
The last time Porterville and Lindsay High School boys soccer teams faced off, the Cardinals came out on top, twice.
But in their first meeting of the Lindsay Annual Cup, last year’s finalist couldn’t get the better of each other and the two finished with a 1-1 draw Friday at Frank Skadan Stadium in Lindsay.
Both Lindsay (3-3-1) and Porterville (3-1-1) are tied for first in the Group A standings after two games, however goal differentials puts the Cardinals in the lead. The tournament continues today with both teams playing at 8:30 a.m. On the main field, Lindsay takes on Summit Charter (2-3) while Porterville plays Shafter (2-5-2) on the adjacent field.
Playing in the final game for Friday, the Panthers came out stronger to start the game but midway through the first 30-minute half, the Cardinals regained control and LHS senior Moises Betencourt scored the first goal with less than five minutes left in the half.
But the lead was short lived after Porterville’s Andre Escarzaga finished off a teammate’s rebound for the equalizer.
“That was the best soccer we played all year for sure,” LHS head coach Tony Godoy said. “And I was telling them, it’s not like we played really well against a bad team. That’s a really good team, I guarantee they make a deep run in the playoffs. That’s a really good team. They’re a well-coached team.” The second half was physical and intense for both teams with Lindsay creating slightly more chances than Porterville.
“This second game, we knew what it was going to be,” PHS head coach Eddie Gutierrez said. “Lindsay, their style of play they knock the ball around really well, they keep it. It got a little bit physical there towards the end but that’s how these games are. I thought we did well. We ran hard and pressured hard. We created a few chances, they did too. It was just a good game, what I expected from Lindsay. They play well.”
Lindsay’s defense was major in the second half and Godoy found the team’s aggression to be a game changer. “You saw some hard tackles
and that’s what we’re getting at, because that’s a big momentum shifter,” Godoy said. “Especially for the crowd, our bench and even morally, just knowing you slid on someone hard. It’s a game changer. So I’m trying to preach that a lot more because I don’t want us to be soft.”
For the Cardinals, Betencourt finished with four goals on the day after scoring a hat-trick against Shafter in a 6-1 win earlier in the morning. Sophomore Emiliano Corona also scored three goals against the Generals.
In their first game, Porterville shut out Summit Charter 3-0. Aldair Robles, Rogelio Bedolla and Andrew Millan scored for Porterville.
“We made a lot of changes to our lineup to try and stay fresh for this game because we knew Lindsay’s always tough,” Gutierrez said about the first game. “We did OK but it’s hard when you have a bunch of guys that haven’t played that much together. We had no chemistry so second half we had to put the starters back in. It was good. Summit, they’ve come a long ways. They’ve improved a lot. From the first time I saw them play to this time, they’ve improved a lot. So hats off to them.”
Grizzlies battling for No. 2 spot in Group C
Both Granite Hills (6-1) and Riverdale (63) are tied for the No. 2 spot in Group C, although the Grizzlies are ahead based on goal differentials. The two face off at 9:50 a.m. today on the main field at Lindsay with Granite Hills looking to continue to the tournament rounds with a win or tie against Riverdale.
Granite Hills went 1-1 Friday after arriving late to their first game and losing 1-0 to Central. The Grizzlies bounced back in their second game and managed to shut out Hanford West (0-5-1) 3-0. Against the Huskies, sophomore Jonathan Carranza scored two goals 10 minutes apart before the 20-minute mark and senior Ivan Ayon scored on a free kick from the 20-yard line in the final seconds.
“In the first game, by the time we wake up and started warming up, they already finished the first half,” GHHS head coach Pedro Gonzalez said. “And when they scored the first goal, the only goal of the game. The other team played good, they dominated the first half. But in the second half, we made a couple of adjustments and played good. We were there [with Central]. In the second game, the guys are ready, prepared for the second game and you can see a difference.”
Lindsay High School’s Moises Betencourt, right, battles for a ball against Porterville High School’s Kevin Gil Friday, Dec. 7, during the second half of a game at the Lindsay High School Annual Soccer Cup at Frank Skadan Stadium in Lindsay.
Right: Porterville High School’s goalie Eduardo Angeles makes a save Friday, Dec. 7, during the second half of a game at the Lindsay High School Annual Soccer Cup at Frank Skadan Stadium in Lindsay. Left: Porterville High School’s Kevin Gil steals a ball from Lindsay High School’s Angel Camargo.
Porterville High School’s Ivan Alcantar clears a ball as Lindsay High School’s Julio Godoy, left, attempts to set from free kick.