Mojave’s boys soccer team won 11 games this season based on speed, agility and an explosive offense that averaged 5.9 goals per game in the regular season.
But in the opening round of the Class 3A Southern Region tournament Tuesday, it was a defensive prowess that led the Rattlers to a 3-1 victory over Chaparral at Bettye Wilson Park.
“Like coach talks about, we always gotta start from the bottom and work our way up,” senior Oscar Gonzalez said. “Strong bottom means we’re able to keep the ball up front and try to get the goals in.”
Jesus Ubario-Ochoa, who had 18 goals and 15 assists during the regular season, scored twice for Mojave (12-5), while Bryan Torres added the third, and goalkeeper Gabriel Sida made seven saves in the win.
Kenny Rosales scored Chaparral’s lone goal, while keeper Bruno Curiel made seven saves for the Cowboys (11-7-4).
Mojave’s first score went into the net of Chaparral’s Jordin Limus, but Ubario-Ochoa was the last Rattler to touch the ball and was awarded the goal.
“It was all just communication, we were all hustling today because we really wanted the win,” Sida said. “It’s about trusting each other (because) they’re in a different division, the other side of the bracket, so we’ve never seen them play. Our strength has been our offense, today our defense came up.”
Gonzalez, Ricardo Chavez and Johnathan Gonzalez continued to make things difficult for the Cowboys, clogging passing lanes or deflecting balls that ended up in front of Sida.
“We were putting a big emphasis on possession, and that allows our defense and midfielders to get back into shape,” Mojave coach Martin Serrano said. “With the exception of counter-attacks, we were able to get into shape and hold them off.
“It’s just building up the plays, stretching the defense out, stretching the whole team out, allows our passing lanes and shooting lanes to open up; basic stuff, and it worked for us tonight.”
Holding a slim 1-0 lead, Ubario-Ochoa made a nifty move through and around Chaparral’s defense to create a one-on-one against Curiel, then fired a shot into the far corner to extend Mojave’s lead in the 43rd minute.
Rosales cut the lead in half in the 61st minute, but Torres found a loose ball in heavy traffic after Curiel had made one save and punched it in to put the Rattlers back on top by two.
Mojave will play Western in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Sunrise Mountain 7, Pahrump Valley 1 — Angel Arreola led the Miners (17-1-1) with four goals and two assists, upping his season totals to 32 goals and 21 assists in their win over the Trojans.
Jonzo Jimenez-Vasquez had a goal and two assists, Luis Luna had one goal and one assist and Estiben Olandez had one goal for Sunrise Mountain.
Jose Chavez had the lone goal for Pahrump Valley (12-9-1).
Western 4, Sky Pointe 0 — Juan Estrada had two goals and an assist to help the Warriors knock off the Eagles.
Bryan Jimenez and Andy Rodriguez each added a goal for the Warriors (16-3-3).
Francisco Corona earned the shutout against the Eagles, who ended their campaign 6-10-2.
Valley 5, Boulder City 1 — Samuel Milenge had two goals and two assists to lead the Vikings over the Eagles.
The junior now has 38 goals and 18 assists this season.
Andy Gonzales also had two goals for Valley (12-7), while Shadrack Milenge chipped in one goal.
Mason Hood scored for Boulder City (6-10).