PHS rallies past Florin with three second-half goals
by Marc Aceves | Patterson Irrigator
Nov 07, 2013 | 1203 views | 0 0 comments | 98 98 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SACRAMENTO -- Despite trailing 2-0 at halftime, the No. 11 seeded Patterson High boys soccer team staged a colossal second-half comeback scoring three unanswered goals to defeat the No. 6 seed Florin High Panthers, 3-2, in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.

Marcos Melendez netted the equalizer and assisted on the final score, Wilver Barajas' 80th-minute match-winner, that completed a three-goal rally for the Tigers.

After the final whistle sounded, Patterson amassed into a huddle of jumping players -- a pogo-sticked, smiling pack of red, if you will.

"We knew it was going to be a tough road. We were seeded as the 11th team in a 12-team bracket, and we we're going up against a league winner," said Patterson coach Greg Hartsell. "It's hard to put into words, but I'm so proud of our guys."

Patterson moves its unbeaten streak to five games, with the team's first playoff victory in three seasons.

The Tigers (17-3-1) will next play Christian Brothers High of Sacramento (12-3-4) on Thursday, Nov. 7. The winner advances to the semifinals to be played Wednesday, Nov. 13.

"We knew we were a better team than (Florin). We could see it out there," Hartsell said. "We just needed that wall to be broken, and we needed to put one ball in the back of the net. Once we did that, you could see our energy and intensity increase."

Even with a balanced scoring attack and a favorable frenetic pace, Patterson found itself trailing at the break. Florin (11-2-6) claimed the early advantage behind a pair of goals from senior Spencer Vue.

"Even though we were down at halftime, there was something inside of us that made us want to win," said Patterson's Israel Sotelo. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish."

After 40 minutes of controlling the tempo and nothing to show for it, Sotelo opened the scoring for Patterson with some fleet-footed action in the 44th minute.

Sotelo corralled a loose ball in the middle of the 18-yard box and fired a low laser that caught Florin keeper Jorge Solorzano offguard, before crossing the goal line.

Again on the attack, Eduardo Delgadillo drove a pass toward the top of the box in the 67th minute. Melendez unloaded on it with a perfectly timed kick, hammering home the game-tying goal.

With the game clock vanishing quickly, the Tigers finished a remarkable comeback.

Melendez dribbled around Florin defenders and placed a cross on goal as seconds on the clock ticked away, with less than one minute left.

The ball landed on the foot of Barajas, who took advantage, booting in the score for the game-winner with 45 seconds remaining, as Patterson clawed its way to a triumph.

"We weren't going to give up," Hartsell said. "The players' will, their determination to come back from 2-0 in an away playoff game -- what they did was amazing."

Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or marc@pattersonirrigator.com.
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