Boys soccer finishes in third place in tough district 5-5A

Briana Castanon
The fourteen seniors on the team pose together for their last picture on home turf

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Hawks soccer tied 0-0 Friday night against Marcus at the Woodshed. The game had a lot of significance, as the winner would claim second place in the district and an easier first round playoff game.

Both teams struggled to get good scoring chances early in the game. Sophomore midfielder Austin Eager seemed to have a goal midway through the first half when his header went past the keeper and headed for the back post. Unluckily for the Hawks, a Marauder defender stayed true to his position on the line and headed the ball away, leading to a disbelieving groan from the home crowd.

Marcus seemed to have a goal of their own right before the first half ended. As the Marauders were attacking inside the Hebron 18-yard box, the ball bounced out to the edge of the box straight towards an awaiting Marcus player. He viciously swung at the ball and the players watched as the ball whizzed past them. Senior goalie Abraham Pina made a valiant effort, stretching out completely to his left to attempt a miraculous save. The woodwork was what saved the Hawks, however, as Marcus fans had their turn to agonizingly groan when the shot caromed off the post.

The second half was slow and not as exciting as the first. Marcus hung back on defense, knowing that even a draw would seal second place. Seniors Joel Carlos, Paul Luna, and Tyler Zych made several attempts to push the ball forward and get that elusive goal. Junior forward Armando Pelaez made several runs along the right side that had scoring potential, but the Hawks could never play the final ball in that would give someone an open shot.

A big key to the game was the play of senior defender Griffin Crocker. As the Hawks pushed more and more forward in the second half in the hope for better scoring opportunities, it left them vulnerable to the counter-attack. Marcus continually applied pressure on the counter-attack throughout the last 30 minutes. The speed of Crocker, however, saved at least one or two potential goals as he was able to backtrack on defense and prevent a quick Marcus forward from getting around him. A couple times late in the game, Crocker had 1-on-1 situations that he calmly took care of and took the pressure off of Pina. The whole defense for Hebron was terrific for the entirety of the match, something that is not easy to do against a team like Marcus that has multiple scoring threats.

The Hawks had only one significant scoring chance in the second half, and that came with five minutes to play. Eager slipped through the Marcus defense and was quickly spotted by Zych, who played a beautiful ball right within reach of Eager’s head. As Eager went up to head the ball, he unfortunately cramped in one of his legs, taking a lot off of the header as he shot it. The ball still had some velocity as it headed towards the goalie, who had come off his line, but he calmly saved it and then pounced on the rebound. The crowd once again let out an exasperated sigh, knowing that the Hawks had played an extremely good game but would still come away with a draw.

Even without a win against Marcus, the team still has much to strive for as they begin playoffs on Friday. This will be the last time for the fourteen seniors on the team to make a deep run in the playoffs. After the bitter loss to Coppell last year in the playoffs, the Hawks are determined to end this season on a better note.