A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Varsity soccer ties against Standley Lake Gators

Senior defender Rodrigo Marin moving quickly to clear the ball

With light mist of rain lowering the temperatures, last night the Littleton Lions played against the Stanley Lake Gators in one of their most important games on the journey of determining qualifications to enter the play-offs. After double overtime,the game ended a tie 1-1 after Littleton played with only 10 men on the field and a last-minute goal by the Gators.

The beginning of the first half was quickly dominated by the Gator’s aggression and the ball was predominantly in the Lion’s defensive third. The plays and pass connections were persistent, but Littleton’s defensive line proved strong and continued to fight. Immediately, Stanley Lake had a shot on goal that nearly went in. This would only be the beginning of a wake up call for the Lions.

Quickly, the game’s atmosphere changed when Ruben Cervantes was given a red card for what was believed to be a kick to the goalie’s head. Ruben was unable to play the rest of the match and will be ineligible to play for the upcoming game, his senior game.

“That was pretty drastic for us because we weren’t able to attack as much and we had play a little more conservative. We wouldn’t play as explosive as we usually do,” said senior midfielder captain Omar Serrano.

With one man down, Littleton had an entire game lying ahead of them. Proceeding the red card, the Lions seemed to develop more aggression and spent more time in the offensive third of the field. There were various plays around the 18 yard box, but none resulted in a shot on goal.

Sophomore Forward Nick Pratt pressuring for possession

It wasn’t until the second half that Serrano took a shot under high pressure, but the shot was deflected and resulted in a corner kick. Serrano was then fouled during the corner kick inside of the six and a penalty in favor of the Lions was called. With this, Serrano took the penalty kick and it slid  through the keeper with a powerful placement shot, leaving the score 1-0.

The game continued and both teams played intensely, resulting in various injuries for players Rodrigo Marin, Sebastian Garnica, and more who suffered from physical contact.

The game was about to end with only three minutes left when player number 7 for the Gators scored on the goalie Enrique Ramos, tying the game 1-1. The tensions were rising and the game would have to be extended into overtime with no penalties. The first team to score the “golden goal”, or first goal of overtime, would win and receive 3 points that would greatly help either team on their way to play-offs.

Both ten minute halves were played at a high intensity for both teams, but neither were able to score, though many opportunities were presented. As an important game with play-offs approaching, the result wasn’t the most pleasing for the Littleton Lions, but they played hard with only ten on the field.

“We just have to shoot, that’s also personally what I’m lacking. You just gotta shoot,” said junior midfielder Sebastian Garnica.

With the ending score being 1-1, the Lions must try to win the next game in order to advance into the play-offs. The team will be able to play with the starting 11 on the field, but Cervantes will not play.

“Execution is key. I mean, without execution you can’t really do anything. We can do everything right but if we can’t score the goal, or make the field goal in footballs’ case, then you can’t win a game,” said Garnica.

As second in the League standings, Littleton will face Green Mountain on October 17 at 6:00 P.M. in the LPS Stadium. The hopes are high for the Lions to win this game and continue to the playoffs.