Possession soccer and solid defense were all it took Saturday morning for the El Campo Ricebirds to pick up three points and the win at home against the Palacios Sharks.
A game after chasing the ball all over the field, the Ricebirds treated the Sharks to those same tired legs in their 3-1 win.
“We work hard every day,” freshman Alexis Salazar said. “We have to slow down on things to have success and that’s what we did. We have a good team.”
El Campo slowed the tempo of the game down and made better passes Saturday leading to more touches on the Sharks side of the field. Early the offense got looks, but the Sharks goalkeeper fended off the Birds strikes.
With time running off the clock in the first half, El Campo had two quick strikes one minute apart to go up 2-0. Salazar got a pass inside the box and with his feet made a couple of quick touches and then he put the ball into the net, his first of two goals.
His final goal, put the game away towards the end of the second half. Sophomore Sirapong Muanpet followed with a jaw-dropping goal to close out El Campo’s scoring in the first half. Muanpet, near the goal, caught a pass mid-air and ninja-kicked it into the goal.
Defensive breakdowns were few and far between against the Sharks. In the second half, off of El Campo corner kicks the Sharks took advantage of the offense being to far up field and made two runs at the goal, one turning into a score with 19 minutes left.
A 2-1 game and a tie in sight for the Sharks, they turned up the pressure, but the Ricebirds defense turned them away.
“We actually slowed down, touched the ball and made a few passes in the back and it was easier because we had their strikers running back and forth,” senior Emanuel Hernandez said.
The El Campo Ladybirds at home Saturday morning picked up a 1-1 tie against the Palacios Sharkettes.
The Sharkettes pressured early and grabbed a goal mid-way through the first half. Despite missing two players, the Ladybirds tied the game with 17 minutes left to go on a long 15-yard strike.
“It kind of brought the spark. We were defending a lot and it brought back the spark to keep on playing. They’re a good group of girls,” Coach Stephanie Cortez said. “They try really hard at practice and in the game. I keep telling them, it will come.”
Junior Lizbeth Hernadez off a corner kick, picked up the rebound that hit off a player. From 15-yards away she put the ball in the back of the net.
“We were all like, oh my god are you serious,” Hernadez said. “It was very exciting (goal) and a very happy moment for all of us.”
With the tie, the Ladybirds picked up their first point in the district standings.