Zebras hold onto top spot with wins over Foothill, Center
PIONEER VALLEY LEAGUE
Boys Soccer Standings
Lincoln (3-0-2, 12-0-3) win over Foothill 1-0
Placer (3-0-2, 7-4-3) win over Bear River 7-0
Colfax (3-1-0, 11-4-0) win over Center 4-1
Center (2-3-1, 4-8-3) loss to Colfax 4-1
Foothill (0-2-1, 1-7-3) loss to Lincoln 1-0
Bear River (0-6-0, 2-8-0) loss to Placer 7-0
LINCOLN HOME GAMES
Jan. 31(Wed.) Foothill 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 14 (Wed.) Center 7:30 p.m.
The Lincoln High boys soccer team avoided their fourth tie of the season on a penalty kick Wednesday night, defeating Foothill 1-0 on the Fighting Zebras’ pitch.
Lincoln senior Carlos Reyes took a corner kick inside the box and put a head butt into the net in the first half. In the second half, it was missed shots and defense that allowed the score to remain 1-0 at the final whistle.
Zebras goalkeeper Maclean Learned made six saves in the match.
The Zebras are young, so it was quite an accomplishment that they finished 8-0-1 in preseason. After tying Whitney 2-2, the club won eight straight matches.
However, after an extended layoff during winter break, Lincoln has struggled a bit.
“The only thing I can think of is the break affected them. I mean we were playing well and then … ,” Lincoln head coach George Bonilla said after the Foothill match. “I think that has to do with how young our team is and I think that affected them.”
A 2-1 win over Center Monday and a 1-0 penalty kick to defeat Foothill was evidence of a fall in scoring power. The Zebras have scored in all 15 of their games, sometimes as much as seven goals. Although a defense-minded coach, Bonilla is looking to restore the team’s ability to score.
The team is working more on their scoring drills now. Bonilla may be somewhat concerned about the drop in scoring, but he is quite happy with his team’s efforts.
“They understand that they haven’t been playing well, but they keep trying and they’re working hard in practice and trying to get back to the level where they want to play,” the coach said. “We don’t score on a lot of opportunities that we’re given. We shoot on our opponents all the time and we can’t score … .
“They keep working hard and encouraging each other.”
Tied with Placer at the top of the Pioneer Valley League Standings, the Hillmen will be in Lincoln Monday. The Zebras erased the effects of the 2-2 tie they had with Foothill Jan. 10, now they plan to do the same against Placer.
Lincoln 2, Center 1
It was a bit of a nail-biter, but the Zebras remained unbeaten with a victory at home against Center Monday.
Sophomore Christian Villanueva scored once in both halves to turn back a recalcitrant Center (2-2-1) squad. Villanueva got assists from classmate Fernando Zepeda and senior Gustavo Martinez.
Learned rejected five of the Cougars’ shots on goal to help keep Lincoln undefeated in league play.
Along with the race for the PVL pennant, Lincoln is ranked 16th in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Max Preps ranking, with all divisions combined.