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Golden West overcomes 3-goal deficit to beat El Diamante in OT


12:00 AM, Jan. 17, 2013 EST

Golden West's Christian Ibarra, back, gets tangled up with an El Diamante's Jason Ruiz during a WYL soccer match Wednesday at El Diamante. Ibarra scored the game-winning goal in overtime. / Ron Holman

Golden West coach John McCaw called it one of the most exciting high school soccer games he has ever seen.

El Diamante coach Agustin Gonzalez called it a circus.

Fans were yelling at each other, players were pushing each other, and referees and coaches were yelling at each other.

It was better than expected.

Everybody involved knew what was at stake during the game, and neither team wanted to give an inch.

In the end, it was Golden West pulling off a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime victory over El Diamante to close out the first half of the West Yosemite League season on Wednesday night at the El Diamante soccer field.

"That was an amazing game," Golden West coach John McCaw said. "I really have to hand it to El D, I was really impressed with them. My players won't like to hear it, but El Diamante at least deserved a draw. It could've been a draw. Both teams had chances and both teams played hard. I've never seen so many ups and downs in a game. What else can you ask for? It was a great game."

With the victory, Golden West improved to 6-0 in WYL play and 13-2-1 overall. The Miners fell to 5-1 and 11-4-2.

The good news for El Diamante is it gets another crack at Golden West in the regular-season finale on Feb. 8.

"We're going to play them one more time," Gonzalez said. "We have to win our next six games and we still have a shot at league. We have to take it one game at a time. It will be difficult to focus on each game because I know they want that last game already."

Staying patient and not looking ahead to that finale may prove to be easier said than done for the Miners.

Wednesday night's game was one that got away.

El Diamante led 3-0 late in the second half only to see the Trailblazers score three goals in the final 13 minutes to force overtime.

First it was Santos Chavez scoring on a penalty kick in the 67th minute to put the Trailblazers on the board. Miguel Casas made it 3-2 with a goal in the 77th minute, and just one minute later, Christian Ibarra scored the equalizer.

"I thought we were going to lose," Golden West junior Kevin Garcia said. "The penalty kick that Santos scored, and then Casas scored and that gave me hope because it was 3-2. Once Christian scored, I was so happy."

The rapid scoring continued in the overtime.

Casas scored in the 96th minute to give the Trailblazers a 4-3 lead. It appeared to be the game-winner, but El Diamante's Joey Chica answered right back with the equalizer in the 97th minute.

And finally, in the 98th minute, Cuevas scored the game-winner for the Trailblazers.

The ninth goal of the game would be the last.

"At 4-4, I thought it was going to be a tie," McCaw said. "I was disappointed with giving up the fourth goal so quickly after it seemed we had just won it, but in this game, anything could happen. Nine goals in a game like this, how often does that happen? It was just incredible."

The Miners took a 1-0 lead into the intermission thanks to a free kick by Chica.

They came out strong to start the second half and took control of the game. Juan Diego Medina scored in the 58th minute to give the Miners a 2-0 lead, and Francisco Medina scored in the 60th to put the Miners up 3-0.

The game was seemingly all but over at that point.

"It shouldn't have come down to that," Gonzalez said. "We were winning and we should have finished it. They're young, they don't know. Hopefully they learn from this and come out strong for the second half."

The Miners will have a little bit of time to rebound. They have a bye Friday and resume WYL play Tuesday against Mt. Whitney.

So what do the Miners have to do the rest of the way?

"They have to play with a chip on their shoulder," Gonzalez said.

The Trailblazers will have to quickly move on from Wednesday's emotional game. They turn around to play at Mt. Whitney at 6 p.m. Friday.

The Pioneers have been on a roll lately, winning their last five games.

"This win gives us more confidence," Garcia said. "We still have to watch out for Mt. Whitney though. If we can win that game, we're in a good position."

 

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Rank School Record
1 Mission Oak High School
Tulare, CA
13-3-0
2 El Diamante HS
Visalia, CA
13-6-0
3 Mt. Whitney High School
Visalia, CA
12-7-0
4 Redwood High School
Visalia, CA
10-10-0
5 Central Valley Christian School
Visalia, CA
9-9-0

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