The 100-plus degree weather did not deter the Tigers (5-0-1 WAC) whose latest triumph extends their unbeaten streak to six games, keeping them in first place in the Western Athletic Conference.
“The heat is brutal, but we’ve practiced and played in it before,” said Patterson coach Greg Hartsell. “I really tried to stress the importance of playing smart today. The guys stepped it up, and we played our game.”
The weather had no effect on Patterson’s ability to control the ball and the pace of the game.
Despite the threatening elements, the Tigers accurate passing from the middle of the field to the outside frequently led to a shot on goal. When Patterson had the ball, it attacked the Panthers’ defense, and when it did not have the ball, it hustled and got it back.
“I’m proud of the guys, and their effort,” Hartsell said. “Pacheco is one more team trying to make it to the playoffs. We did what we needed to do on a hot day, and now we can keep moving forward.”
On Tuesday, Patterson opened the scoring.
In the eighth minute, sophomore Marcos Melendez got the Tigers going with a rocket to the back of the net, putting Patterson up 1-0.
Pacheco (3-3) tied up the match after halftime with a goal at the 56-minute mark.
But Patterson senior Kiki Gonzalez quickly notched a pair of scores in the final 22 minutes to propel the Tigers to their first conference road win.
In the 58th minute, Gonzalez controlled the ball superbly with his left foot before calmly slotting it beyond Pacheco’s goalkeeper, to put the visitors back in front.
Patterson then took a two-goal advantage with 13 minutes to play when Gonzalez converted a second shot.
This time, Gonzalez followed a loose ball in front of the Panthers’ goal, dribbled to the left side and a shot into the lower left corner.
“We were ready, we were focused,” Melendez said. “We know how important each game is.”
Hartsell isn’t going to let his top-ranked Tigers get too much satisfaction out of another victory.
“We’re in a good place right now, but we’re not satisfied,” Hartsell said. “No one is going to roll over for us. We need to keep up the intensity, and keep getting contributions from everyone on the roster.
“There’s still a lot of season left.”
The Tigers will continue their season at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, when they travel to face the Livingston High Wolves.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.