Boys soccer defeats Chandler Wolves in the first round of playoffs

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Photo by Maria Martin

The team celebrates after a goal by Ryan Flood. The Aztecs defeated the Chandler Wolves 4-1.

Written by Jake Pyatt, Sports Editor

Boys soccer was at home Wednesday night to take on the Chandler Wolves in the first round of the state championship playoffs.

The Aztecs went into the game as the  No. 6 seed in the playoffs behind the leadership of forwards John Rea and Ryan Flood.

Chandler started off the game with most of the possession but wasn’t able to create solid scoring chances.

The Aztecs had a great opportunity to get on the board halfway through the first half but failed to after Rea collided with the goalkeeper keeping both down for a few minutes. Rea was eventually carted off the field and did not return to the game. The team replaced him by bringing sophomore Bryan Olivares up from the back line.

“All season we’ve been playing with players in different positions,” head coach Dan Salas said. “We’ve been telling our whole front line ‘be ready to go at anytime.’”

Flood was just able to get the ball past the goalie who was off his line to get the Aztecs a goal 10 minutes before halftime.

Moving Olivares up front proved to be the right decision when he scored a few minutes before heading to the locker room..

“I think I played really well,” Olivares said. “Usually my position isn’t in the back, it’s actually forward, and when I went up front it felt natural.”

Just about 10 minutes into the second half, sophomore Marco Escobedo showed off the team’s young talent when he maneuvered his way past defenders and topped it off with a great shot to beat the keeper to give the Aztecs a comfortable 3-0 lead.

Chandler was given a penalty kick after an Aztec foul in the box. The Wolves converted and tried to gain any momentum they could get.

But any momentum they could’ve had was ended when Olivares scored his second goal of the night to seal the win for the Aztecs.

“Olivares stepped up,” Salas said. “(Olivares) hasn’t played forward once this year but I knew as a freshman he was our second leading scorer last year. Let’s get him out of the back and let’s move him forward. I know he’s got it in him.”

The team will now head to Hamilton on Saturday afternoon to take on the No. 3 seed Huskies.

“As cheesy as it is, you’ve got to play one game at a time,” Salas said. “Everybody is good at this point. You’ve got to be good at the details.”