Photo by Gerald Castillo
San Marcos beats Cibolo Steele for third-straight win
Racing to the playoffs can be daunting. But on Friday night, the Rattlers were the ones bringing the pressure.
Against Cibolo Steele inside San Marcos Toyota Rattler Stadium, head coach Lisa Mazur wanted her team to push farther up the field to keep the ball on the Knights’ side of the pitch. The longer the ball stayed there, the more likely the Rattlers would score.
The high-pressure strategy worked, as the hosts outscored the visitors 2-1 to remain tied for fourth place in the district, still in contention for the postseason.
“We stuck it through to the end,” Mazur said. “I can see the guys coming together more. It’s not individual, it’s more team play and I think they’re buying into what we’re teaching them.”
San Marcos got on the board early in the match. Sophomore Melvin Molina found the back of the net just five minutes into the first half to take a 1-0 lead.
“I was high pressuring the keeper,” Molina said. “The keeper had a bad touch and I just worked hard for it and kicked it in. And thank God, I got the goal.”
The press had its disadvantages. When it did cross midfield, Steele had an easier time counter-attacking. The Knights struck back 10 minutes later with a goal of their own. But the Rattlers kept finding opportunities to go back in front.
With eight minutes left on the clock in the first half, the hosts earned a corner kick. Molina sent a ball into the box and found sophomore Jose Duenez for San Marcos’ second score of the game.
“I just saw it coming in and I positioned myself to kick the ball,” Duenez said. “And it just came my way and I finished it.”
The Rattlers focused on getting stops in the second half. On one possession, the visitors took multiple shots inside the box. But saves from senior goalkeeper Terry Stennett kept Steele from picking up another goal, and San Marcos stayed in front the rest of the match to take the 2-1 victory.
“It’s scary when the ball’s in the box that long. Anything’s possible," Mazur said. "But, you know, sometimes you just need a little bit of luck and I thought our keeper did a great job, too, Terry Stennett, I think he saved a lot of what was going on in the back.”
The Rattlers (8-9-1, 6-4 26-6A) are tied with Smithson Valley for the final playoff spot in the district. They’ll head to Schertz Clemens (11-7-1, 7-3) for a 7:15 p.m. match on Tuesday.
Mazur said she thinks her players can hit another gear with their energy, and will need to shift to it to make the postseason. Molina agreed.
“Practice after practice, we’ve been working hard as a team,” Molina said. “Let’s expect more (from ourselves) because our main goal is to go to playoffs. Our next game coming up is going to be a tough game and we’ve got to work hard for it.”