After each of West Ranch boys soccer’s first-half goals, the players shouted at one another how much time was left in the frame.
The phrase “we still have 15 minutes left,” floated across the field after the Cats’ second goal of the evening as a reminder to not ease up until the final whistle.
That discipline led to a 3-0 shutout of Canyon at West Ranch on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.
“We started strong, but you don’t want to give up,” said Wildcats left back Taylor Kozlov. “If we score three goals in a half, then they can score three goals in a half.”
West Ranch scored back-to-back goals heading into the 15th minute. For the first goal, Jacob Gendein wrangled a rebound after a Kozlov throw-in and popped it past the goalkeeper.
Kozlov was credited with the Wildcats’ second goal. He sent the ball sailing from 30 yards out.
“It was raining, so I was like, why not, I’ll shoot it,” he said. “And I just had a good shot and when I hit it, I felt it, and it went top right and it just felt really good.”
Freddy Montes had the final word for West Ranch (5-1-2 overall, 1-0 in Foothill League), scoring on a header in the 25th minute.
Canyon (1-10-2, 0-1) was able to hold the home team scoreless for the second half, fending off good chances generated from a well-organized team.
West Ranch took more shots than usual throughout the game because it knew how difficult it is for goalkeepers to grasp the ball in the rain.
The win was a welcome one for the Wildcats, who dropped their previous two league openers.
“To me, the first game is one of the most important games of the season as it’s the start of the season. It kind of puts a bar and for the last two years, we’ve gone against Valencia and it’s been a tough season opener, said coach Louis Mogrovejo.
“We think this year we have a really solid team. All the boys played great and at the end of the day, we came out with a great win.”
Hart 1, Golden Valley 0
Lawrence Luna scored an unassisted goal for the Indians, who move to 7-6-1 overall and 1-0 in league.
Hart next plays at Canyon at 5 p.m. on Jan. 16, while Golden Valley (3-5-2, 0-1) will next compete against Canyon on Friday.