Altus boys soccer focused on winning season finale Friday

by Jack Duncan,

April 23, 2014

Jaime Reyna isn’t concerned about the complicated playoff scenario.

The Altus boys soccer coach and his Bulldogs are focused on one thing - winning their regular season finale Friday at Lawton.

Altus scored a close-range goal in each half and relied on gritty defense to hold off Duncan, 2-1, on Tuesday – Senior Night - at Hightower Memorial Stadium. Altus, 3-3 in district, plays Lawton Eisenhower on Friday at Cameron University.

“We played hard,” Reyna said. “We got a little sloppy, but we came back and got the win. We’re still in contention.”

The Bulldogs are fourth in the eight-team district and likely will need help from others to get the district’s third playoff berth. Northwest Classen, a Class 5A state semifinalist last year, leads the district.

Antoine Sanchez was a defensive star for the Bulldogs, Reyna said. Senior captain Andres Benitez stifled Duncan’s forward progress with several one-on-one standoffs. Senior goalie Dominik Friesenhahn stopped all but one shot, including one he had to jump for with about five minutes remaining.

Contact became more physical early in the second half, and tempers flared on both sides. However, order was restored quickly, and no cards were issued.

Not long after the skirmish, Altus midfielder Alan Ortiz kicked inbounds toward the goal from about 25 yards out, and striker Victor Cuellar directed it through heavy traffic for the decisive goal about three minutes into the second 40-minute half.

Midfielder Tyler Jones, who scored Altus’ first goal, had a chance to add insurance when he was awarded a penalty kick with 6:57 left, but his effort sailed directly to the keeper. Michael Abuan gave Altus other chances with his acrobatic, two-handed inbounds passes at the end of somersaults.

Jones gave Altus a 1-0 lead 9 minutes, 3 seconds into the game when he tapped in a corner kick from Gabriel Barton. Duncan tied it with a similar play 4:28 before halftime.

Meanwhile, the Altus girls, who already had been eliminated from playoff contention, lost, 1-0, to Duncan in an earlier game.