Tech’s boys soccer team scored twice in a four-minute span in the first half on Monday to defeat Foothill 2-1 and win the Southern Nevada Kick-off Classic at Liberty.
The Roadrunners (4-1) opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss before downing Sierra Vista 3-0, Liberty 2-1, and Palo Verde 1-0 in overtime to advance to the final.
Tech is the defending Division I-A champion with 13 returning lettermen from last year’s squad. However, the Roadrunners lost six of their main offensive weapons to graduation.
“This is definitely a good way to start the season,” Tech coach Josh Jones said. “We were in this tournament last year and lost on penalty kicks (to Shadow Ridge). We have a lot of new players, and our goal is to get a little better each game. We achieved that this weekend. We opened with a loss but have won four straight now.”
The young Roadrunners faced adversity early on when Foothill’s Robbie Cowan found the back of the net four minutes into the game. Cowan’s goal from the right corner came on an assist from Mason Reid.
“It didn’t seem like we were quite awake,” Jones said. “Part of the problem was our left back was a little dehydrated with a headache so we got him out of there. We barely had an hour of rest between games.”
The Falcons’ early goal definitely woke up the Roadrunners. Less than 10 minutes later, Francisco Garcia scored after a throw-in. Tech added a second goal four minutes later when Andres Santana scored after a corner kick from Grant Samayoa.
Jones said the team has been spending a lot of time over the offseason working on scoring opportunities on throw-ins and set pieces.
“We lost a lot of scoring power from last year,” Jones said. “We scored 83 goals, and 90 percent of those graduated. We are looking for some other guys to step up. We have a lot of returners, and we are just trying to see who fits what position.”
After the early flurry of goals, both defenses set the tone for the remainder of the game. As time ticked off the clock in the second half, the Falcons’ offense became more aggressive. However, Tech’s backline defense and goalkeeper Tyler Harvey’s play kept the Falcons out of the net.
Harvey, who only allowed three goals in five games, made a spectacular save on an attempt by Aaryn Corneos. While backing up, Harvey made a leaping grab falling backward. Harvey stopped 12 shots in the semifinal shutout victory and six shots in the finale.
“Tyler made some great saves in this game,” Jones said. “We had some great saves this morning. He had two shutouts in this tournament, and the goals scored on him were not his fault. He’s definitely a solid presence in back.”
Tech 1, Palo Verde 0 — The Roadrunners advanced to the championship game when Adolfo Guzman scored the golden goal one minute into overtime.
Eduardo Sanchez was credited with the assist.
Foothill 2, Legacy 1 — At Liberty, Cowan and Dietrich Jackson each had a goal and an assist as the Falcons beat the Longhorns to move into the title game.
Kevin Guardado scored for the Longhorns.