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Mountain Region: Las Vegas High beats Eldorado to claim title

The bad news for Las Vegas High’s boys soccer team was that it had only two shots on goal during Saturday’s Mountain Region title game at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex.

The good news is they both went in.

Sergio Aguayo and Drew Bowden scored goals for Las Vegas, and Rodolfo Gomez made five saves as the Wildcats topped Eldorado 2-0 to win their first region title since 2009.

Though only two shots were on target, Las Vegas (17-1-1) still held a 12-11 advantage over Eldorado (11-7-3) in total shots. Las Vegas had a bigger advantage in the first half, where the Wildcats outshot Eldorado 8-2.

“We talk about it a lot, if you take a shot off target, nothing is going to happen,” Las Vegas coach Rafa Mitjans said. “I think we fixed it by the end of the game.”

It took until the 67th minute for the Wildcats to score, but they did so in style. Aguayo picked up the ball to the left of Eldorado’s goalkeeper, danced around a defender, and his shot tipped off the keeper before dribbling into the net.

“I bumped it up a little bit too much and he brought it to the right and I just took it away from him,” Aguayo said. “I just cut the defender and then shot and it eventually went in.”

Two minutes later, Las Vegas struck again. Daniel Rangel booted a corner kick to the far side off the box, where Nathan Zamora was there for the header and Bowden was there for the tip-in and the 2-0 lead.

After that, it was desperation time for Eldorado. The Sundevils took nine shots in the second half, and Gomez fought away all three of their second-half shots on goal.

“We knew that we had won once we heard the whistle blow,” Gomez said. “We never stopped until we heard the whistle.”

It is the second year in a row Eldorado has lost a region title game, falling in overtime of last year’s Sunrise Region championship to Coronado.

Las Vegas will play Coronado (19-2-1) in the Southern Nevada Championship at 4 p.m. Monday at Rancho, after which it will head to the state tournament next week.

To get there, Las Vegas had to navigate perhaps the toughest league in the state. Eldorado was ranked in USA Today’s regional rankings, and fellow Mountain rivals Cimarron-Memorial and Palo Verde were both ranked nationally at times this year.

So beating Eldorado on Saturday, then facing defending state champion Coronado on Monday does not intimidate the Wildcats.

“We respect every opponent, but we fear no one,” Mitjans said.

Contact Justin Emerson at jemerson@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2944. Follow @J15Emerson on Twitter.

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