Cardinals capture sixth championship
By Crystal Havner
Special to the Sun-Gazette
woodlake – The Lindsay Cardinals (7-1) traveled to Woodlake (2-5-1) on Wednesday, Feb. 8 and claimed an East Sequoia League championship with a 4-1 victory over the Tigers. It was Senior Night for Woodlake and although the skies were dry, the field was not. The Woodlake field maintenance crew put sawdust down to try to dry it up and even shortened the field a few feet because the sidelines were just mud. Players, and refs, slipped in the mess, but played on.
In the first 10 minutes of the match Woodlake had two near misses on goal, but Lindsay scored first with 31 minutes left in the half when Arturo Espinoza put in a 10 yard kick. Both teams battled the mud and slush before Lindsay scored again when Julio Godoy put it in the back of the net.
Lindsay’s Estevan Moreno made a goal with 10 minutes left and Woodlake put Lindsay up 4-0 with less than a minute left when the ball bounced off a defender and scored an own goal.
Woodlake goalie Jaime Navarro opened the second have with a couple of saves and Horacio Pena scored a goal for the Tigers to give the game its final score of 4-1.
Lindsay head coach Tony Godoy said, “This is the sixth year in a row we’ve won league. It was always our goal to win league and this is the type of game we needed to enter the playoffs. We needed a win and we got it. The guys really stepped up and played their A game.”
Woodlake celebrated Senior Night for Isaiah Valencia, Angel Aguilar, Andrew Castro, Javier Cortez and Horacio Pena.
Jose Palomo, 10-year Woodlake varsity head coach said, “Andrew has such a great attitude and work ethic. This is his first year and I wish he had been with us from his freshman year. Angel has been in the program for two years and this is his first year on varsity. He has had a lot to overcome, but has worked hard. Isaiah is in his second year on varsity and has also overcame a lot. He is our most consistent player and he is a natural leader. Javier is a four year varsity player and a team captain. Horacio is a returning starter and gives his all.”
Palomo said about the team’s year, “This has been a rebuilding year. We graduated 18 players last year and only had two returning starters. This has been a season of ‘what ifs.’ This is a good group of young men and this has been a trying season, but they never gave up. It’s sad to see the five guys go, but we have some potential moving up. Maybe next year won’t be a repeat of this year.”