When the Valley soccer team took the field looking for their first ever win against arch-rival Rochester tonight, they knew a fast start was critical. They didn’t disappoint. Thirty seconds into the contest, Caleb Petgen, Valley’s leading scorer, headed in a corner kick from Osbaldo Sanchez to put Valley up 1-0. The start was crucial for the Vikings, who have had a habit of taking awhile to get untracked this season at the start of games. However, Rochester answered three minutes later to knot the game at 1-1 and at that point the game settled down.
As the first half unfolded, Valley put constant pressure on the back four defenders for the Zebras. Finally, at the 25 minute mark of the first half, Freshman Christian Ramirez, hit a beautiful right to left bender, that just floated over the hands of the Rochester goalie, to put Valley up 2-1. That concluded the scoring for the first half, as Valley held the one goal lead thanks in part to the fine keeper play of Sophomore Alexis Hernandez, who is improving with every game.
As the second half opened, the Vikings knew Rochester would come out charging, trying to get the equalizer quickly. However, the Vikings put together the best half of soccer they have played this season to hold the Zebras off. Jorge Rosas, provided a goal via penalty kick to give the Vikings a 3-1 lead and some breathing room at the 25 minute mark. Four minutes later, Ramirez added his second goal, taking a beautiful pass from Jon Ruiz to put Valley up 4-1. Ramirez concluded his night with his third goal at the 15 minute mark to push the Valley lead to 5-1. Rosas capped off Valley’s scoring with his second goal of the game putting Valley up 6-1 and giving the young squad a nice cushion for the last 13 minutes. With 7 minutes to play, the Zebras converted a penalty kick to make it 6-2. That was how it ended.
For Valley, it was a total team effort. Jakob Jones, Jessica Brito and Arturo Dominguez along with Rosas have become an excellent back line and get more comfortable playing together with each game. The mid – field lead by Ruiz, Sanchez and Uvaldo Gutierrez, did a good job defending and helping create offensive scoring opportunities.
Valley has no time to celebrate. They travel to Peru tomorrow to take on the Tigers. A Valley victory clinches a third place conference finish which would be the best in history for the young program.