While the game between city rivals was played in an annoying drizzle, the Pioneer vs. Huron boys’ soccer game on Thursday night was a classic match between two very talented and skilled teams playing with everything they had. In other words, the weather didn’t dampen the evening.
A very close and well played first half ended in a 1-1 draw. The Pioneers took a 2-1 lead on a penalty kick in the second half and then held off the River Rats the rest of the way – including playing a man down for the final 14 minutes – to win the game 2-1.
Pioneer improved to an impressive 6-1-1 on the season.
“I was really proud of the boys for a strong team effort and we’ll look to continue to be better,” said Pioneer Coach Jon Sundermann.
Huron Coach Luis Gomez also was proud of his team’s effort and performance.
“We dominated in all four phases of the game,” he said. “We made two mental mistakes that awarded PHS two fouls that resulted in two goals. That’s just the way sports and soccer go sometimes.
“As a group, we know we are on the right track for the playoffs. We are going to be a tough match-up for anyone we face in the District tournament.”
Austin Jacobs scored on header off a cross from Ian Figueroa to give the Pioneer a 1-0 lead. Jacobs went high for the header and redirected the ball into the upper left corner that the Huron keeper had no chance on.
Speaking of no chance, Huron answered with the equalizer a few minutes later on a rocket off the foot of Djimo Kouyate. The sophomore took a pass from senior Dante Bailey and fired in a perfect shot from about 40 yards out to tie the game at 1-1.
“Our sophomores are maturing right before our eyes,” Gomez said. “Kouyate’s goal is a sign of his personal talent and feeling more comfortable at this level with every game.” Huron continued to play with a great determination and effort and really stuck to their game plan in the second half.
“We were able to handle their pressure a little better as the game progressed – although still not where we want to be,” Sundermann said.
Through persistent hard work from Austin Jacobs, the Pioneers were awarded a penalty. Dan Gutenberg delivered the ball into the net to push Pioneer back in front.