Chaparral’s boys soccer team already has played several of the top teams in Southern Nevada this season.
But Cowboys head coach Eric Rolwing didn’t mince his words when talking about one particular opponent. Wednesday’s opponent. The second-ranked Del Sol Dragons.
“We’ve played everybody now,” Rolwing said. “I think that’s the best team we’ve played.”
Del Sol turned No. 10 Chaparral into the latest casualty of its unbeaten start with a 3-2 road victory on Wednesday afternoon. The Dragons took a 2-0 lead in the first half and added another goal early in the second — enough insurance to withstand a furious Cowboys comeback.
Del Sol, which sits behind only Durango in the latest Southern Nevada coaches poll, is 8-0 and Dragons coach John Britt is enjoying the ride.
“It’s up to (the players) how far they want to go (this season)” Britt said. “My team has a drive. They’ve got a drive. They’re looking at the big picture. It’s the best team I’ve coached in 26 years.”
Del Sol’s key players think defense is their strength, but offense carried the Dragons early on Wednesday.
Ruben Ortiz scored from point-blank range midway through the first half, and Diego Flores scored the Dragons’ second goal a few minutes later.
Chaparral, meanwhile, struggled to put a shot on goal, and nearly every ball it fired into the box was promptly kicked away by a member of Del Sol’s rugged defensive unit.
“We always tell each other in the first 10 minutes, we have to play aggressive we have to play fast,” Dragons forward Sergio Calderon said. “Put the game away early, as soon as possible.”
Calderon scored Del Sol’s third goal two minutes into the second half, but the seemingly lifeless Cowboys offense came to life and Chaparral made a late charge.
Cowboys forward Ramiro Alvarado fought for position on a corner kick and banged home a gorgeous pass from Omar Miranda, who converted a penalty kick a couple minutes later.
Suddenly 3-0 had turned into 3-2.
But it was too little, too late for the Cowboys.
“It took us 50 minutes, unfortunately, to start to play,” Rolwing said.
Chaparral pressured Del Sol’s back line and had a handful of scoring opportunities, but shots either missed the goal or were turned away. Eventually, the Cowboys just ran out of time.
“We know what the bar is. If we’re looking to be state champs this year, we’re going to have to go through them (or Sunrise Mountain),” Rolwing said. “It gives us a great bar.”
Britt, meanwhile, raved about his team’s chemistry and stressed the strength of Del Sol’s character.
“Three years ago, over half the starters were sophomores,” he said. “We were not good.
“But every year, they stick together. And they’re feeling the fruits of sticking together right now. We have a long way to go … but I’m very happy with their composure.”