Garcia’s winner secures Eagles’ undefeated crown

Carlos Garcia winds up to shoot in Pleasanton’s 2-1 win over Somerset on Tuesday. GABRIEL ROMERO | PLEASANTON EXPRESS

Two weeks after capturing the school’s first district title, the Pleasanton Eagles men’s soccer team had another goal before playoffs began: finish undefeated.

On Tuesday, the Eagles (10-7-1, 9-0) beat Somerset 2-1 with a goal in the final two minutes of the match. Carlos Garcia provided the winner and sealed Pleasanton’s undefeated district record.

“That was one of our goals that we tried to get once we got halfway through district. We realized we can do it,” said Head Coach Alejandro Hernandez.

At the first tournament in Beeville, he overheard the team talking about the players from last year’s team and had enough.

“I said, ‘Hey, you know what? That was them and this, this is your year,’” Hernandez added. “Whether it’s in sports or in life, just make it your year. That was our mindset.”

The talk paid off because the team started racking up wins, which led to the school’s first district title when they beat Poteet 7-0 on March 3.

“Let’s take care of the moment in the present here and we’ll take off tomorrow when tomorrow gets here. We just take it one game at a time,” Hernandez said.

In the first half of the game, Pleasanton controlled the ball and kept in on the Bulldogs’ side of the field.

Garcia bagged his first goal on a shot from 10 feet out that put Pleasanton up in the 26th minute. After halftime, the Bulldogs scored off a penalty kick at the 45-minute mark.

Hernandez said he doesn’t want the Eagles to lose their focus. He felt the team lost focus today with the way they played.

It was almost like Somerset was the undefeated team with their communication and work on the field, Hernandez said.

“We will continue to work on the basics,” Hernandez said.

In the final two minutes, the score was still knotted up when Garcia headed in a corner kick right past the goalkeeper.

“We just never gave up and we just kept playing until the last minute and it just so happened to get to me and I finished it,” Garcia said. “It feels great going undefeated in district as a senior because it’s my last year.”

He said the team this year was just trying to make more history than last year’s team that went 16-6-1.

Garcia is the team captain and wears an armband on his right arm as the Eagles battle.

“I love leading these youngin’s,” Garcia said. “It helps to set the example by working and pushing for more.”

As Pleasanton adds the first district banner to the school, Garcia said they aren’t done yet.

“We are going to keep making history, as much as we can,” Garcia exclaimed.

Goalie Stefon Torres made an unbelievable save when Somerset got into the penalty box with a chance to take the lead in the second half.

“The ball is just coming at you so fast you can’t really think about it. If it’s in your area you just dive for it,” Torres said.

When he dived for the ball, he nearly collided with the goal post, the ball ended up spinning a foot away from the goal line with two Bulldogs closing in, but Jose Angel Perez got to the ball first.

He said it was an amazing feeling making the game-saving save. The sophomore feels like Pleasanton’s soccer program is building something special.

“The program at Pleasanton is like an underdog. Coming back last season, our run this year, it has just been a great start,” Torres said.

He is one of the foundation pieces for next year and following years to come.

“I’m just going to grow, we all are going to grow together. We can go as far as we can, we can even possibly win state,” Torres smirked.

Pleasanton is on a nine-game win streak, all in district, and will face the winner of Palacios and Rockport-Fulton in the playoffs.

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