WICHITA FALLS — Birdville reached new heights this season by making it to the Class 4A Region I boys soccer tournament.
And coach Roger Garcia is confident the Hawks can make it a learning experience for the future after they came up short Friday in a 2-0 semifinals loss to El Paso Del Valle.
The Conquistadores (22-6) earned their second straight trip to the Region I final with goals from Roberto Reyes and Arturo Pinon. They’ll play the winner of Wichita Falls Rider and Amarillo at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Birdville trailed 1-0 at halftime after Reyes’ goal in the sixth minute, his 17th of the season. He took a through ball from Gerardo Perez and beat the Birdville keeper to the far post.
Del Valle had more possession time in the first half, but the Hawks matched the Conquistadores with two shots on goal.
Birdville (18-5-6) created some chances by winning balls in the midfield and getting balls through, but couldn’t find the finishing touch.
“We’re building a program,” Garcia said. “We played good; they just had a better day than we did. We fought and we were always slow starting, and once they scored that was tough for us.
“We were just a hair off today. Their work in the midfield, and they had so much pressure on us, we just didn’t adjust well.”
Del Valle coach Bruce Reichman gave Birdville credit for a good fight.
“They took our midfield away a little bit, and it took us a little while to get it back,” Reichman said. “They gave us a good game. Our kids stepped up and rose to the occasion and we were able to bury two.”
In the second half Birdville’s John McGuffin made a great save on a shot from inside the 6-yard box by Rafael Montez, keeping it a 1-0 game in the 50th minute.
But the Conquistadores scored another goal in the 60th minute from Pinon as the senior sidestepped a defender and then beat the keeper just inside the left post. McGuffin had just stopped a tough shot from the other side seconds earlier.
“Our goalkeeper was excellent, and he’s been that way since he was a sophomore,” Garcia said. “He’s a four-year varsity kid and the foundation we’re building on.
“Against this team I’m counting on this as a success. They have a great program and there’s no shame in this.”
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