Boys soccer: Tahquitz bested Ontario at the last minute, 1-0 to advance in CIF
■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
The better a team does during the regular season, the more chance they have of becoming nervous in postseason. The Tahquitz High School boys soccer team got that chance on Thursday, Feb. 7 as they hosted the Ontario Jaguars for the CIF Division 5 playoffs. Providing the backdrop for this CIF match was the beautifully snow-capped peak of Mt. San Jacinto. How well would the Titans control their nerves against these big red cats?
Hit-and-miss would be the answer during the first half, as the Titans’ defense went into overdrive. At the very least, they would hold off the Jaguars and prevent them scoring in the first 40 minutes of this round one match. But they wouldn’t score, either.
So hard would Daniel Fragoso fight to get the ball on the Titans’ side that he would be yellow-carded by the refs for unnecessary roughness 13 minutes into the second half. Alvin Robledo continued the fight, taking a hit from Luis Amezcua of Ontario at the 18 minute mark. Amezcua would get a yellow card of his own for this incident, as Robledo’s nose bled. But an even worse hit would take place five minutes to the whistle: In his attempt to score, Titan Luis Reyes collided with Jaguar goalkeeper Jonathan Valdez. After several minutes, Reyes would get up and walk this off. But Valdez would require urgent medical attention for what was suspected to be a dislocated hip. Once he was on his way to the hospital, gameplay resumed.
Ulisses Castaneda would take over guarding the Ontario goal with six minutes left in regulation time. At two minutes to the final whistle, Fragoso would score the one goal of the evening and would see Tahquitz through to the next round.
Coach Hugo Gorosave was blown away by how undaunted these teams were on the pitch. “It was a dogfight out there! Ontario’s a hell of a team; They’re strong, we knew exactly what to expect, they’ve been strong all season!”
Fragoso agrees, saying the Jaguars kept him on his toes. “It was a tough game, they were… one of the best teams we’ve played, preseason and season!”
Unfortunately for Tahquitz, Desert Hot Springs would pull a hat trick on them this past Saturday, Feb. 9 to knock them out in round two 3-1. But that didn’t change that the Titans remain the 2019 Mountain Pass League champions. The Titans also had three league MVP awards for 2019:
Junior Ricardo Cabrera – Goalkeeper MVP
Junior Daniel Cisneros – Defense MVP
Senior Evan Ortiz – Offense MVP
Gorosave says he followed up with Ontario’s coach, Harry Cruz, who says Valdez is expected to make a full recovery and did not sustain any lasting injury.
So at the end of their 2019 seasons, the Titans stand proud with a record of 7-2-1 in league, 15-6-2 total. The Jaguars went 5-3-2 in Mt. Baldy League and 10-7-4 overall.