Cougars prevail in first league match

Robert Cervantes of Clovis High (right) fights for the ball against a Clovis East Defender at Clovis East High School on Jan. 6, 2017. [Photo by Christian Ortuno]
By Tomas Kassahun | Reporter

The Clovis High boys soccer team held off a gritty Clovis East squad when the two teams met in the first league game of the season on Friday, Jan. 6 at Clovis East.

Despite being dominated throughout the game, the young Timberwolves played a competitive 80 minutes and walked away with a 2-0 loss against the much more experienced Cougars.

“We started off a little scared because more than half the team is freshmen. They don’t know the system very well,” Clovis East head coach Santiago Aguilera said. “I have a very young team, but we’re very organized. That’s the key. We had opportunities to put it in and at least get a tie, but the players played well. We’re getting better everyday.”

The Cougars scored the first goal in the first half when Oscar Rubalcava’s cross found senior Breadon Rouff for a header.

“We wanted to spread them wide. Then we crossed it,” Cougars’ head coach Danny Amparano said. “Anytime [Rouff] is in the air, he’s going to finish it.”

The goal against Clovis East was the 15th of the season for Rouff, who leads the team in that category.

“[Clovis East] is not very good compared to us, so we wanted to get as many goals as we possibly could,” Rouff said. “Starting off with a league win makes the year stronger for us. It gives us confidence going into the next game. We were focused.”

In the second minute of the second half, the Cougars struck again. This time Rubalcava’s shot from outside of the box was saved by the Clovis East goalkeeper, but junior Rubehn Martinez scored with a header off the rebound.

Amparano didn’t want to give away any secrets, but he said there was a plan that helped the Cougars get a quick goal in the second half.

“We saw something and we adjusted to it and we attacked it,” Amparano said.

Although they have struggled in recent seasons, the Timberwolves usually play well in league. Last season, the Timberwolves had four wins overall, but three of those wins were against teams in the Tri-Rivers League. With the latest loss against the Cougars, the Timberwolves dropped to 2-6-2 overall this year.

The Cougars extended their winning streak to eight, improving their overall record to 14-1. The only loss on their record is a 2-1 defeat which they suffered against Palos Verdes on Dec. 10. 

The Cougars next game is at home against Clovis North on Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. while Clovis East hosts Buchanan the same day for a 3 p.m. match.

The T-Wolves and Cougars are set to meet again on Jan. 25 at Clovis High.

“The kids wanted to win so bad, but that’s soccer,” Aguilera said. “Hopefully we’ll get them over there.”