HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER

Vista Ridge's late push comes up short in playoff loss to Johnson

The Rangers went down a man with 15 minutes left in the game

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DRIPPING SPRINGS — Sometimes soccer is all about emotion. Thursday night was no different. 

The Vista Ridge boys’ soccer team’s season came to an end with a 1-0 loss to San Antonio Johnson Thursday at Dripping Springs High School in a game that featured many fouls, two yellow cards and a sending off. 

“We were two even teams,” Vista Ridge head coach Sam Reed said. “When you have a game like that where it’s just close the entire game, emotion is going to play a part in it. Good or bad. I think we controlled it pretty well.”

Reed added he wants his team to play with emotion, otherwise they can’t play as hard as he knows is possible.  

The Rangers started the regular season 2-6, but finished in second place in the district with an 8-4 record, winning four of their last six district games. 

“This will go down as one of my favorite years coaching,” Reed said. “From where we started to where we are now. They created expectations for themselves and reached it. The progress showed a huge increase in ability and the expectations on themselves.”

The first half was even and ended without any goals. Both teams shared the possession but with neither really took advantage of the few chances they had. Vista Ridge had the best chance early in the match when a header bounced off the post.

Johnson started the second half strong, winning two quick corners. On the second attempt, the Jaguars headed home a rebound to take the lead. 

The Rangers pushed forward and pushed hard. A shot from Matthew Naugle was handled by the Johnsons goalkeeper. Armando Vidal had a chance on net. Diego Valadez had the best chance of the game, but his open volley went over the bar. 

“In the playoffs, you can’t give up set piece goals,” Reed said. “We had a couple chances. That’s just part of it. We knew what they were going to do and them scoring on the set piece, you can’t give those up.”

Tempers flared after Angel Rocha looked to shoved out of bounds by a Johnson defender with under 15 minutes to play. Rocha was given a straight red card and two Jaguars were shown yellow. 

This was third straight playoff appearance for Vista Ridge, who lost in the first round a year ago and the second round in 2016. 

The Rangers are getting closer to having a breakthrough. 

“Every year we’ve built a little more and a little more and then we’re making the playoffs for the third year in a row,” Reed said. “The expectation is to get there and these seniors kept that. This was an even game and our expectations are now to win those games and that’s something they’ve created.”

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Email: sports@hillcountrynews.com

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