In one of the fiercest rivalries among high school sports programs in the city, Liberty Ranch had the upper hand for a while after scoring the first goal in its matchup with Galt at Warrior Stadium.
The Warriors’ Enrique Hernandez and Juan Cruz made sure that lead didn’t last for long, however, and on Cruz’s assist, Hernandez scored to tie the game at 1-1 at the six minute mark in the first half.
In the second half, the Warriors would go on to score three more times to put the game away and close the chapter on the first of two Sierra Valley Conference matchups the two will have this year.
Alexis Gonzalez scored twice, Hernandez scored once and Jose Santos scored for the Warriors.
The Warriors ended the week with a 3-0 win-loss SVC record.
“We felt like, if we put them under pressure, we’d get our chances to score,” Galt head coach Freddy Renteria said afterward of the first half. “Honestly, they only had that and maybe one more shot, a header. So we told them, if we could put them under pressure, they probably wouldn’t be able to keep up with that, and we were able to put one away right there before the half ended.”
The Hawk offense guarded the Warriors closely in the effort to keep their lead and for a while it was effective; Galt missed several shots, including two shots over the crossbar. The Warriors’ goal with six minutes left, however, tied the game.
“We’ve had our ups and downs as a young team but we can only learn from this and get better,” Hawk coach Jorge Ortega said after the game.
The Warriors won their first league game over El Dorado on Jan. 9 3-0. The Hawks shut out Bradshaw Christian 8-0 in their first game and had a standout performance by Isaac Sandoval, who scored six goals against the Pride.
The Warriors went on to defeat Bradshaw Christian 15-0 on Jan. 16 in a game in which Gonzalo Garcia had a hat trick.
With the win, the Warriors improved their state rank to 29th; they were ranked 86th in the nation as of Jan. 17.
Renteria said after the win against the Hawks that, though the Warriors had had difficulty against some good teams prior to the winter break, their time after the break has benefited them.
“We’re on the way up. I felt like, when we went on break, we had some tough games and we didn’t play that well. When we came back after break, we played a lot better. El Dorado was kind of on and off, and today I felt like we played a lot better,” Renteria said.
The Hawks traveled north several days after the Galt matchup and earned their second league win, defeating Union Mine 3-1.
After facing Galt, Ortega said that the young Hawk program is improving every day and that they’ll improve on their appearance against the Warriors.
“They play very direct and we just weren’t able to cover spaces quick enough to protect our goal, basically, and just working on first and second balls when they’re coming out so, essentially, when the ball’s in the air, getting to the ball and when the ball hits the ground, getting to that second ball so we can gain possession,” Ortega said of the Warriors. “Aside from that, it’s a young team and we’re still learning and growing. Every day’s a process. Like I tell them, every day they have to come and to learn and to get better because every day’s an opportunity to get better.”