By Moses Leos III
A trio of first half goals was enough for the Westlake Chaparrals to overwhelm the Lehman Lobos in a 4-0 win Monday on senior night at Lobo Field.
For first year Lehman head coach Brad Baker, the trials faced during a rigorous 6A campaign will prepare the team for next year.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming into this 6A district,” Baker said. “It will be healthy for our five returning juniors to know the competition they are up against and to prepare earlier.”
Westlake took control from the early going by attacking the flanks and working its way into the middle of the field.
“Their goal was to push wide and work across the field,” Baker said. “We told the kids to keep them on the outside.”
But Westlake took advantage in the 15th minute as Alex Espejo buried a cross into the goal to give Westlake 1-0 lead.
The Chaps continued to push the pace, taking advantage of ample space given by Lobo defenders.
On the opposite end, Lehman held early opportunities to score goals. Baker said the Lobos keyed on working the ball to senior Rene Torres and senior Bryan Percastegui, along with Coco Balderas.
However, the Lobos struggled to combat Westlake’s physical play. Westlake midfielders shirked Lehman players off the ball to regain possession.
Getting numbers forward also hindered the Lobos’ attack. Torres said communication issues, along with passing troubles also was a factor.
“They always beat us to the ball,” Torres said. “We couldn’t seem to push them off. They would always push us off.”
Westlake gained separation late in the first half. Pablo Sanchez, who scored two of his three goals in the first 40 minutes, accomplished it.
Sanchez scored his first goal at the 32nd minute by ripping a long-ranged shot from the left sideline that tucked into the right upper 90. His second goal came seven minutes later, as he blasted a 25-yard shot into the net.
He put away his final goal less than two minutes into the second half to close the scoring.
For Torres, Monday closed what he described as a “roller coaster” season. Despite the struggle, he said the team was able to “build bonds with everyone.”
“We started slow, and we got to know each other, until we found ourselves,” Torres said. “From there, we moved up, but somewhere we fell short and we couldn’t find the motivation we needed to.”