Ruiz nets hat trick for Granite Hills
It took Granite Hills High School boys soccer less than a minute to get on the board against reigning, eight-time East Sequoia League champion Lindsay Wednesday at Jacob Rankin Stadium.
Salud Magana put the Grizzlies (12-2-1, 2-1-1 ESL) on the board first but it was sophomore Daniel Ruiz's three-goal finish that gave Granite a 4-4 tie in double overtime for their best finish against the Cardinals (7-4-3, 2-1-1 ESL) since a win during the 2012-13 season.
“It's good,” GHHS head coach Pedro Gonzalez said. “That's why we have to work with these kids. They have to believe in (themselves). Because before, we never played tough with these guys. We lost all the time, most of the time. We're lucky if we tie or something but today I think we play toe-to-toe with them.”
Lindsay didn't get the equalizer until the 23rd minute of the game when, on a free kick, Jorge Quintero beat a Grizzly defender and leapt in the air to take a shot that sailed past the Grizzlies goalkeeper. But just before the half ended, Ruiz gave Granite the lead with his first goal of the game.
In the second half, Lindsay's Emilano Corona put the game level with a goal 15 minutes. Two minutes later, Luis Lemus put the Cardinals ahead with another goal off a rebound.
But five minutes later, it was Ruiz again on a free kick that tied the game at 3-all.
Lindsay had their chances late in the second half but GHHS goalkeeper Oscar Cruz and the Grizzlies' defenders kept the from scoring.
Cruz proved a big factor in the first overtime, accounting for two saves that set up a counter attack that led to another Ruiz goal. However Quintero once again scored an equalizer in the sixth minute of the second overtime to end the game in a tie.
With Farmersville (15-2-1, 3-0 ESL) and Woodlake (9-5, 2-0 ESL) at the top of the league, this game was crucial for both team. Lindsay will take on Farmersville in the first leg of their annual Champions Cup Friday
“That's going to be the game of the year,” LHS head coach Tony Godoy said.
Granite faces Woodlake Friday and then plays Farmersville twice next week.