West keeps All-Star trophy with 4-3 win
By Patrick Dillon
lindsay – The East squad trailed by a score of 4-3 as the clock approached fifteen minutes remaining in the 9th annual East-West All-Star Game.
In that time spanned the East created six different scoring chances. The best of those chances came at the fifteen-minute mark from Woodlake’s Horacio Pena.
As the minutes of his last soccer game clicked away Pena struck the ball solidly on a free kick along the ten-yard line just to the left side of the goal. The ball looked to be tracking toward the top of the goal. But the ball carried a little too much velocity as it rose and bounced off the top of the cross bar.
“I thought it was going in already, I really thought,” said Pena. “I hit it good but just a little bit too hard.”
A few more strikes at the West goal came but it was next to impossible with the Tulare County Boys Soccer Players of the Year Golden West’s Ramon Zarco playing Keeper. Just like during the season Zarco was solid between the pipes stopping five shots. In fact, it was his own West teammate Angel Alvarado of Mission Oak who scored a goal during the beginning of the second half to make it the final score of 4-3. Zarco plans on playing for the College of the Sequoia’s Giants next year.
“It felt good playing with all the elite players of your division and they are going to bring out the best in you,” said Zarco.
During the beginning of the game the East squad struck first to gain a 2-0 lead. Just ten minutes into the 45 minute first half Dinuba’s Francisco Hernandez hit a perfect centering pass from the far side to Cesar Chavez’s Oscar Diaz, who redirected the ball in for the first goal of the game.
Just three minutes later, Hernandez got a goal of his own when Farmersville’s Fidel Ramirez hit a high ball into the box. Hernandez was right on the spot and redirected a slow roller in past the West keeper, El Diamantes Carlos Torres.
Yet it was the last 15 minutes of the first half that the West went on a scoring frenzy and decided the outcome.
“It’s an all-star game I think the kids had a blast,” said West and Golden West head coach John McCaw. “It was the fifteen-minute flurry that decided the game.”
Redwood’s Carlos Sillezar got the first goal with 13:35 left in the first half after he fired a rocket past the East keeper Julio Corral.
After Sillezar was a pair of West Yosemite League teammates Jackson Fagundez of Lemoore and Miguel Alva of Hanford who scored. Alva’s goal in the seventh minute at first seemed like a prayer from center field. But that prayer was answered when the ball rung the post in the back of the top right corner of the net. That goal gave the West their first lead of the game 3-2.
It was another WYL player in Mt. Whitney’s Jose Mendoza who got the game winning goal. Off the West teams fourth corner kick of the first half the ball traveled through the mass of people to Mendoza who headed it in.