West Ranch boys soccer welcomed Valencia onto their home field in a Foothill League game on Friday.
The Wildcats went up early in the first half but faltered in the second, allowing two goals and fell 2-1.
“It’s just the way the game goes,” said West Ranch head coach Louis Mogrovejo. “We weren’t disciplined on the first goal, they got a shot at around the 20 and the guy just whipped it in and the second on a corner.
“In my eyes, we played a way better game, but in soccer just because you play better doesn’t mean you’re going to win.”
Opening the game aggressively, Valencia’s Ian Young and Noah Yohannes built up the Vikings’ attack down the left flank, threatening the West Ranch defense.
West Ranch countered by trying to push Josh Swanson, Ryan Verbeck and Jacob Gendein up top to try and get behind the Valencia defense.
In the ninth minute, Gendein tracked a ball down the right flank into Valencia territory.
Controlling the ball, Gendein crossed a ball towards the back post where Verbeck stood and chested the ball into the middle of the box where Swanson took a half turn and fired it into the back of the net.
“We came out strong with a lot of energy because we wanted to win so bad,” Swanson said. “We were moving the ball really well and we saw the middle and used our wings well. We were connecting as a team.”
Trying to get the early goal back, Valencia (7-1-8 overall, 4-0-4 in Foothill League) pushed forward with Julian De La O and Guillermo Martinez, but nothing would come of it.
At halftime, West Ranch (3-8-2, 1-6-1) led 1-0.
Making adjustments at intermission, the Vikings caught the Wildcats on their heels, making runs and possessing the ball down the left flank with Martinez trying to find an opening.
In the 60th minute, Kauffman lined up for a free kick from 25 yards out. His shot bypassed the West Ranch wall but landed in West Ranch goalkeeper Ethan Bolita’s chest for a save.
Four minutes later, De La O crossed a ball into the edge of the penalty box. The ball ricocheted off a West Ranch defender and landed at Kauffman’s feet who, this time, wouldn’t be denied the goal. He tied the game at 1-1.
A couple possessions later, the Vikings scored the game-winning goal as Young found himself with space on the Wildcats’ back post. The cross came hurling toward the West Ranch box and Young did not disappoint, giving the Vikings, who were not available for comment after the game, the lead with seven minutes left in the game.
West Ranch had a couple more opportunities to tie the game down the stretch on a free kick by Swanson that was cleared and on a throw-in in Valencia territory that appeared to cross the goal line but was saved to end the game in a Valencia win.
With the win, Valencia moves into a tie with Hart for first place in Foothill League standings, playing Golden Valley at Valencia at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. West Ranch remains in fifth place and hosts Hart at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday.