Trailing by a goal to McLane in the closing minutes of the game, Logan Elkington remembered what his head coach, Ivan Janssens, told him at halftime.’
“We shouldn’t have been in that position,” Elkington said. “[He said] it was foolish of us to play like we did and we needed to put our head in the game.”
The Clovis West sophomore responded to his coach’s message by bending a free kick inside the left goalpost in the 75th minute. Elkington’s goal sent the game into overtime, where Clovis West scored two more goals to secure a 4-2 victory over McLane on Tuesday.
“The fact that we were down 2-1 was our own fault, and we had to recover,” Janseens said. “We knew within the first five minutes of the game what McLane had and even though we talked about it and everybody had a clear picture, we let them step into a situation that they shouldn’t have [been in].”
“But it doesn’t matter to me if we’re down 2-1 or 4-1, I trusted our team’s abilities, regardless of who we were playing.”
McLane scored first in the 29th minute when senior Eduardo Orozco found the back of the net.
Clovis West answered with a 39th minute goal from Ethan Rance, who lifted the ball over the head of McLane goalkeeper Diego Castro.
It was one of only a few balls Castro allowed to get past him. The senior goalkeeper recorded eight saves on Tuesday, stifling much of the Golden Eagles’ attack.
McLane also relied on its physicality to defend Clovis West and, for the first 75 minutes of the match, it worked.
“They were extremely fast and strong,” Elkington said, “so they just beat us every single ball.”
The Highlanders took a 2-1 lead on a 52nd minute goal by senior Emmanuel Reyes.
But when Clovis West had the ball firmly in its possession — on a set piece — it succeeded.
Elkington’s goal on a free kick tied the game, and his leg contributed to the go-ahead goal in overtime.
In the 86th minute, Elkington shot a ball that richoted off a McLane defender and into the goal. McLane’s own-goal gave the Golden Eagles its first lead of the match, one they would never give up.
Isaiah Hernandez scored an insurance goal in the 95th minute for Clovis West. He nearly scored the go-ahead goal in the first overtime period, but was denied twice in the penalty box.
Once he finally broke through with a goal, all the team captain could do was smile.
“Isaiah is a huge part of the team’s composure,” Janssens said. “This is his third year as a captain, and he leads by example inside those late-game situations.”
“Composure” is a popular word among the various TRAC soccer teams. Clovis West needed some of it on Tuesday to keep attacking and eventually break through.
“The team’s composure has been tested by the season overall, starting and stopping during the pandemic,” Jannsens said. “We know that the season is coming fast and heavy, and composure is a big part of it. One player’s composure rubs off on the other and it becomes very contagious. That’s something that we’ve been putting years into developing.”
Clovis West (2-1) plays Hoover next on Thursday.
Ponce scores hat trick as Clovis overwhelms Hanford
Hanford delivered a jolt to the Clovis Cougars when senior Rogelio Garcia scored the game’s first goal for the Bullpups.
But instead of responding with reckless passing and uber-aggressive offense, Clovis kept its patient style, dominating possession and seeking opportune chances to strike.
Most of the time, those chances came off the foot of Jesus Ponce.
Ponce scored a hat trick and Clovis answered Hanford’s early score with three first-half goals. The Cougars went on to win Tuesday, 6-1, and advance to a 7-0 record this season.
“You could tell by the body language,” said head coach Danny Amparano. “I think we’re pretty mellow and play with the flow. It doesn’t matter who the opponents are. We played all 20 guys and they just kept their head.”
Xandro Chavez scored the equalizer in the 19th minute off an assist from Ernesto Aguilera.
Two minutes later, Luis Miguel found an open Ponce inside the penalty box, who fired the one-timer into the net for the go-ahead goal..
Aguilera added a goal of his own in the 39th minute, with Ponce providing the assist. Clovis led 3-1 at halftime.
The Cougars dominated possession for much of the game, but in the second half, Hanford still had two opportunities close to the net to score.
Both times, senior goalkeeper Manny Bassi knocked the Bullpups’ shot attempt away. The Cougars’ back line of defense cleared the ball and Clovis regained possession.
In many ways, the Cougars’ best defense was their offense.
“We figure the more we keep it, the more teams get tired,” Amparano said.
Jesus Ponce scored twice more in the second half, sandwiching a goal from Timmy Juarez.
Clovis will play again next week at its home tournament.
Other TRAC soccer scores:
Clovis East 3, Edison 1
Clovis North 6, Tulare Western 1 (from Monday)