SHINGLE SPRINGS — Ponderosa High’s varsity soccer program hosted intra-county rival El Dorado Wednesday, routing the Cougars 5-1 in preseason action.
The Bruins tallied all five of their goals in the first 30 minutes, sparked mere seconds in as senior Trevor Swartz took an opening tap from Curtis Goldsmith and blasted a deep floater that cleared Cougar keeper Andrew Eells. Swartz finished with a hat trick, his second straight.
“It felt like the best feeling of my life,” Swartz said of the long-range prayer, “it’s a shot you always dream you’ll be able to make — we saw the keeper was up and no one seemed really ready so we just went for it — and it worked.”
The score worked as a wake up call for El Dorado as Cougar Alex Jimenez tracked a through-ball that skirted by Ponderosa’s defenders and made a great run, finishing with a strike that found threads left-side upper V.
“Alex is one of the smallest guys out there,” Cougar coach Tony Giles said, “and he was out there sacrificing his body going for balls — I love that kid’s heart.”
Unfortunately for El Dorado, the drive and determination didn’t hold. Ponderosa answered as Jack Carpenter headed in a left-side corner kick from Alaberto Santana and Swartz finished on a ball Eells had stopped by making a great play on Bruin Mathew Gould’s shot. Swartz knotched his third in drilling a volley on a corner kick from Brandon Avalos to put Ponderosa up 4-1 in the 22nd minute.
Nicholas Draher capped off the offense for Ponderosa, finishing on a corner kick from Gould that squirted to the top of the 18-yard mark. From there, the game’s rhythm broke down as the Bruins began to play haphazardly against an El Dorado squad struggling to create momentum.
“There was no sense of urgency,” Giles said. “And when the boys got scored on they seemed to really get down on themselves. We need to work on acknowledging the good things that we’re doing — you’re going to have good and bad during every match, and a lot of the time the good outweighs the bad — but when you elevate the bad and acknowledge the negative, it’s tough to get out of that rut.”
Cougar striker Oscar Santana made two solid runs at breakaway goals, but was called offside by a shoelace and cleat stud, respectively.
Ponderosa head coach Greg Spangler saw a breakdown in play with his Bruins as well — acknowledging how jumping out to a big lead early can make a team lose focus.
“We didn’t play particular well in the second half today,” Spangler said. “But with a five-goal lead, we’ll take it.”