Eldorado boys soccer coach Gerald Pentsil might have only one problem with his team this year: There aren’t enough soccer balls to go around.
Luckily for the veteran coach, his Sundevils can be awfully good at sharing.
Eldorado’s efficient passing on Saturday set up several scoring chances en route to a 6-2 win over Green Valley in the Sunrise Region final at Heritage Park.
The Sundevils (19-0-2) won their second region title in three years and will represent the region in the Division I state tournament, which begins Friday in Carson City.
“It is a lot of fun to watch them,” Pentsil said. “We have some dysfunction like any family does, but it is fun when the results are good. They’ve worked hard. I’ve put them through a lot.”
Andres Lua had three of his four goals and Chris Perez four assists during a 13-minute span early in the second half as Eldorado turned a 2-0 halftime lead into a 6-1 advantage.
“Andy is an amazing forward,” Perez said. “All you have to do is get the ball to him, and he scores.”
Lua and Perez have combined for 77 goals and 40 assists this season.
“Most of us have played together for a very long time, since we were small,” Perez said. “We know where each other is going to go, and that makes it easy.”
Israel Hernandez scored two goals for Eldorado. Both were assisted by Edgar Duran, his 17th and 18th assists of the season.
It took the Sundevils nearly 20 minutes to get their first quality scoring chance. Hernandez converted after Eddie Mercado knocked down a goal kick and fed Duran, who sprung Hernandez free for an easy left-footed touch goal.
Hernandez had two more quality chances denied before Lua started his scoring barrage, walking through two defenders to place a shot just inside the right post in the 37th minute.
Just before halftime, Green Valley’s Scott Schofield picked up his second yellow card, forcing the Gators (13-9-3) to play short-handed the rest of the way.
Eldorado quickly took advantage, with Perez and Lua hooking up for two goals in the second half’s second and fifth minutes.
“Coach told us at halftime to come out and score first and just bury them so they won’t have any hope,” Perez said. “And that’s what we did.”
German Martinez and Breno Rocha scored for Green Valley.
Matt Thomas and Powell Naylor each scored a goal to help Palo Verde beat Cimarron-Memorial 2-1 to capture the program’s first region title.
The Panthers (19-0-1) moved on to the state tournament for the first time and will take on the No. 1 seed from the North on Friday in Carson City.
“This program has been good for a long, long time, and we’ve had some good players who were snakebitten,” Palo Verde coach Kevin Hagood said. “We finally got the opportunity, and we were able to capitalize on it.”
Palo Verde never had gotten past the playoffs’ second round until advancing over Bishop Gorman on penalty kicks in the semifinals Thursday, and Hagood joked that he didn’t know what to do when he arrived at the school before the game.
“I’ve never been on the Saturday bus,” he said. “It was kind of a surreal feeling.”
But the Panthers didn’t show any big-game jitters, grabbing the lead in the 10th minute. Thomas was hacked down by a Cimarron defender in the box after being sent in by Nolan Sherwood, and Thomas converted the resulting penalty kick.
“We have been behind in the first two games of the tournament, and we talked about how important it was to get the lead early and get the momentum,” Hagood said. “We didn’t want to chase the game at all.”
Palo Verde used its size advantage to dominate the midfield and cut off the Spartans’ counterattack. But the Spartans (13-4-4) nearly tied the game just before halftime as Gustavo Ortega lashed a shot from the right wing that sailed inches over the crossbar.
“Mentally, we didn’t recover after the (penalty kick),” Cimarron coach Mark Bailey said. “But we played really well at the end of the first half, and if Gus’ shot goes in, it’s a different ballgame.”
Naylor made it 2-0 in the 61st minute as he slid to get a foot on Austin Polster’s cross and sent it into the top of the net.
The goal proved to be the difference as Cimarron’s Nico De La Torre scored on a free kick from about 25 yards out seconds before the final whistle.
“For this program, the kids, the alumni, this is the biggest moment,” Hagood said. “This goes back years and years of frustration. So that makes it a little sweeter.”
Julio Del Real’s header off Brandon Vargas’ corner kick four minutes into overtime gave Tech a 3-2 victory over Sunrise Mountain for the Division I-A Southern Region title.
“Vargas crossed the ball, and it deflected off someone and went up in the air,” Del Real said. “The goalie came with his hands up, and I hit it over him.”
Tech coach Josh Jones credited his team for finishing the game with just nine players after two red cards.
“They never stop fighting,” Jones said. “Playing two players down, it’s almost improbable to get a goal. The guys believed. Good thing we’ve got a pretty veteran group of guys that have been here before. They didn’t show any nerves and continued to keep fighting.”
Tech (18-5-3) began playing down a man when Hugo Flores received his second yellow card in the 48th minute. Derian Salcido got a red card for hitting a Sunrise Mountain player with two minutes left in regulation.
Both players are ineligible for Friday’s state semifinal in Dayton against Sparks, but they can return if the team advances to the championship game. Sunrise Mountain (10-5-2) plays Truckee in the other semifinal.
“Things happen in soccer,” Jones said. “They’re going to come out and support the guys, and hopefully they’ll get a chance for a little bit of redemption in the championship game. It’s going to be a little bit of a struggle, but we have a pretty deep team.”
Tech stormed to a 2-0 halftime lead on goals from Salcido and Flores.
Salcido’s goal came from a cross by Del Real, who was being swarmed by two defenders.
Flores bodied in his goal five minutes later off a 15-yard free kick by Salcido.
The Miners began their comeback three minutes into the second half.
Jose Paz sent a 40-yard free kick to teammate Luis Garcia-Chapurro, who put it into the net to make it 2-1.
Sunrise Mountain’s Emilio Graciano converted a free kick right outside the box to tie it with four minutes left in regulation.
“First half, I think we came out and did exactly what we wanted to,” Jones said. “But momentum kind of shifted, and our guys got a little out of character.”