Sonora scored four straight goals to overcome a two-goal deficit Thursday night and held off Summerville in the last 10 minutes to preserve a 4-3 Mother Lode League victory at Dunlavy Field.
“I’m still shaking because it was a tough game,” said Sonora head coach Qani Berisha. “We had the game in our hands and we almost gave it up. Summerville is fast and move the ball around very well, very organized.”
The Bears moved the ball around real well and into the net in the opening minutes and jumped on the Wildcats with two goals.
Sophomore Justus Flores hit a shot that deflected off another player and into the net for the first score in the first minute of the match.
Sophomore Ben Larsen tallied the second goal off an assist from Hunter Anderson.
“I like how we competed and got up early,” said Summerville head coach Dave Reel. “Us being young, for a 10-12 minute period our youthfulness really showed. But it was a back and forth, physical game and Sonora is a very competitive, good team.”
Missael Vazquez brought Sonora back with a pair of “great” goals said his coach. And Zach Whitmer scored the go-ahead goal to make it 3-2 at halftime.
“We started shaky. My defense wasn’t communicating and gave up a couple of quick goals,” Berisha said. “But I have a strong team that doesn’t give up.”
In the second half, Sonora scored its fourth straight goal, this time on a penalty kick. The referees ruled Vazquez was fouled in the box and Chilean foreign exchange student Rafael Weber converted the shot for a 4-2 lead.
“We got motivated and played hard and physical,” Berisha said. “But then I had three key midfielders get injured that I had to sub and Summerville kept winning the ball and attacking. It was a very tough game.”
Larsen earned a Bears penalty kick “all on pure hustle,” said Reel of Larsen’s “inspiring” play and also commented that he really stepped up his game. He also mentioned Justin Noonan for his “exceptional” work at wing.
Anderson converted the penalty kick but the Bears couldn’t push another into the net after applying heavy pressure in the last few minutes.
“I wish we had five more minutes on the clock,” Reel said. “Both teams wanted this game tonight. It was high intensity. I’m really proud of where we’re headed. We grew tonight.”
“I’m very proud of my team, they played hard and all gave 100 percent,” Berisha said. “I was happy with the result.”
Sonora next will play Tuesday at Bret Harte and Summerville will visit Calaveras on the same day.