Vallejo out­lasts Bethel in TCAL semi

Red­hawks top Jaguars in penalty kicks, 5-4, ad­vance to league fi­nal vs. Al­bany

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Thomas Gase [email protected]­aldon­ @tga­sevth on Twit­ter

It turns out that the third time was the charm for the Vallejo High boys soc­cer team against its city ri­val, Jesse Bethel.

Well, OK, maybe it was the fifth time.

The Red­hawks fi­nally tasted vic­tory against their city ri­vals in a Tri-County Ath­letic League play­off game that seemed as bal­anced as a trapeze artist and lasted longer than a Jimmy Page gui­tar solo. Nearly three hours af­ter the first whis­tle sounded, Vallejo won in penalty kicks 5-4 when a shot by the Jaguars’ Jor­dan Oliva sailed over the net and Red­hawks goalie Fran­sisco Men­doza.

Vallejo (16-3-4) hit each of its penalty kicks as the five were scored by Ruben Sierra Jr, Al­berto Sierra, Cris­tian Ro­das, Alexis Vil­lagomez and Chris­tian Bernal. Bernal’s goal, the fifth and fi­nal one for Vallejo, hit off the hand of Bethel goal­keeper Marco Valen­zuela, but

still went in the net.

“You al­ready have to know what side you’re go­ing to pick be­fore you kick,” Bernal said. “Keep it in your head and don’t let the goalie change it. My heart skipped a beat when he tipped it but I still thought it was go­ing in.”

Bethel (13-2-2) matched each of Vallejo’s first four penalty kicks as David Men­doza, Jeremiah Tzun, Miguel Her­nan­dez and Ale­jan­dro Cano each con­verted be­fore Oliva’s shot missed the mark.

Jaguar play­ers and coaches did their best to con­sole Oliva af­ter the missed shot and Bethel head coach Jonathan Tzun was still proud of his squad de­spite the loss, which he said wasn’t a tough loss, but a good loss.

“I don’t like that word (tough),” the Jaguar coach

said. “At the end of the day it was a good loss man. A lot of peo­ple look at a loss as a neg­a­tive thing, but I don’t. I see it as mo­ti­va­tion head­ing to the sec­tion play­offs. We have a win, tie and a loss but we have a ban­ner and they’re still fight­ing for one.”

Vallejo will now play Al­bany on Satur­day at De Anza High. Al­bany, the league’s No. 1 seed af­ter win­ning a tiebreaker with co-league champ Bethel, de­feated Her­cules 3-0 on Tues­day night.

“It feels great. We had to stay fo­cused and fight for ev­ery ball out there and never give up,” Bernal said.

The game re­mained score­less in the first half un­til Omar Gon­za­lez put the Red­hawks on the scoreboard first with a header to the right side of the net that made it 1-0 in the 34th minute.

Vallejo owned the time of pos­ses­sion for the rest of the first half, but could not add to its lead.

In the sec­ond half things got more chippy be­tween the teams as both the Jaguars and Red­hawks saw more yel­low cards than the third aisle of an Of­fice Max. Both teams felt the mount­ing pres­sure, as even both side­lines were given a card, one to the Jaguars coach­ing staff, while a per­son on Vallejo’s bench not in uni­form re­ceived one as well.

Fi­nally, Bethel gave the crowd some­thing else to talk about when Matthew Ca­david knocked in a re­bound to knot the game at 1-1 in the 55th minute. In­ter­est­ing enough later in the game, Ca­david, who had the night’s lone reg­u­la­tion goal for the Jaguars, and scored twice in the pre­vi­ous matchup be­tween the two teams, was not one of the first five play­ers to take a shot for Bethel in penalty kicks.

Af­ter 80 min­utes, the game went to two 10-minute over­times, but nei­ther squad could end it with a golden goal. Ethan Lara

had a shot for Vallejo saved by Valen­zuela in the first over­time, while Ca­david couldn’t quite con­vert on a one-on-one sit­u­a­tion late in the first over­time.

Men­doza had a chance in the sec­ond over­time to end it, but the shot went wide right with about a minute re­main­ing.

De­spite the loss, Bethel is con­fi­dent mov­ing for­ward and will be ready for the North Coast Sec­tion play­offs next week.

“We didn’t learn any­thing from this. I mean it went to penal­ties,” Jonathan Tzun said. “I mean they missed shots, we missed shots, and with penal­ties it’s al­ways a coin flip. Who­ever misses first losses pretty much. And we missed our last shot. But that doesn’t change any­thing. I still have con­fi­dence in my team un­til the wheels fall off.”


Vallejo goalie Fran­cisco Men­doza cel­e­brates with mem­bers of the team af­ter Bethel’s Jor­dan Olivia over­shot the goal dur­ing the fifth round of penalty kicks in Vallejo’s 5-4win in the play­offs on Tues­day.

Bethel’s Jonathan Martinez gets his head on the ball dur­ing Tues­day’s loss to Vallejo in the play­offs.

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