By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal
Raiders’ boys soccer team battled back to beat the Buena Park Coyotes 4-2 to remain unbeaten.
Soccer ball on grass
After falling down 2-0 on the road versus Buena Park, the Raiders chipped away at the Coyotes before sending the game into overtime.
“That’s where the leadership comes from, from a bunch of seniors. You have a lot of seniors who’ve been there, done that,” Witt said.
In overtime, the Raiders kicked the door down, scoring two to win 4-2
“They didn’t have a lot of fight left in them,” Witt said.
Trailing with 15 minutes to play, feelings of doubt began to creep in. However the Raiders were able to take advantage of a counterattack giving them numbers headed towards the goal.
The Raiders needed to work hard to possess the ball, due to the narrow field the Coyotes use.
“This field is a very hard field to play on, it’s very narrow, you’re right on top of each other,” Witt said.
They also dealt with a setback with Blake Tourville starting with Bronchitis. Tourville’s energy level was low, and the Coyotes took advantage of it.
“We were too nervous, we had to stay composed. When we freak out, that’s when the goals come,” Anton Cervantes said.
Cervantes, a captain moved to centerback in order to sure up their defense for Tourville.
“I think he played phenomenal for us in the middle,” Witt said.
However, as the Raiders adjusted to their circumstances, they began to be successful.
The Raiders first goal came off of a free kick by Kyle Huitt. Huitt’s ball sailed in front of the goal, but as the Coyote defender tried to clear it with his head, the ball continued towards the goal, into the net over the keeper.
The Raiders needed to rely on early crosses in order to handle the narrow field if they wanted to continue to score.
The Raiders tied it up with minutes to play in the second half on a goal from Frankie Alvarez. A Raider midfielder dummied a pass to Alvarez, who dribbled to the side of the goal, before slotting a shot which ricoched off a Buena Park defender into the goal.
“What a great individual effort by him,” Witt said praising his effort throughout the game. Witt was also proud of the attacking effort of Jose Valenzuela who tormented the Coyote defense.
The Raiders two overtime goals came in the first few minutes of overtime. Jessei Rodriguez scored on a header in front of the box, then Erik Estrada scored on a low shot that slipped through the hands of the Buena Park goalkeeper.
The Raiders win keeps them atop the standings in the freeway league as they prepare for the second round of league games.