Streaks Move On
Gotay Fuels 4-0 Victory Over Lee
HARRISONBURG — Henry Gotay created chance after chance for the Harrisonburg High School soccer team, but for 50-plus minutes Friday night, his shots went high, wide or even off the goal post.
Early in the second half, he finally broke through — dribbling to his left until he saw an opening, and then connecting a left-footed goal to give the Blue Streaks a cushion in what turned out to be a 4-0 win over R.E. Lee.
“I feel like I was having good chances, but I wasn’t finishing really well,” Gotay said after the first-round Valley District tournament match on a damp HHS field. “And I had that one chance and looked for the space and got the space and I finished.”
Gotay, whose goal gave HHS a 2-0 lead with 28:17 to play, also assisted on the second of sophomore Luis Vargas’ two goals, less than eight minutes after his own one.
Despite possessing the ball for most of the game, HHS led only 1-0 on an early chip from Vargas when a lightning warning delayed play with 57 seconds remaining in the first half. After a 30-minute delay, the teams finished the remainder of the half and then took an abbreviated, two-minute intermission.
Coach Ted Erickson stressed to his team during the delay that they’d have to adjust to the weather, and the Streaks appeared to do just that against the overmatched Leemen (1-15).
“As soon as the ground gets wet, a ball that we play in the air, as soon as it comes down and hits the ground, it’s going to take off very quick,” Erickson said. “We say it skips. So what we want to do, now we want to keep those balls knee-height or even on the ground, so when they’re played, they’re not shooting off and skipping quickly.”
The second-seeded Streaks (12-3-2) advanced to Tuesday’s semifinal round, where they will host Fort Defiance. Third-seeded Fort defeated Broadway 4-2 on Friday.
Fort also beat Harrisonburg 6-2 in the first district game of the season, and while HHS won the rematch 4-2 a month later, that early loss may have helped shape the Streaks.
“I felt like we weren’t clicking yet,” Gotay said. “… We’ve been playing as a team since that loss, and I think that it was a wake-up call. The best teams need that, you know.”
Gotay was clicking with his teammates throughout Friday’s match. Pulling the strings from the midfield, he continually set up his guys, and the Streaks had plenty of near-goals.
He sent a beautiful ball to Vargas in the 60th minute, and Vargas essentially put the game away by putting HHS on top by three goals.
“We’ve been playing since middle school, so we know each other,” Vargas said of himself and Gotay. “He knows which runs I’m going to do, so he looks at me and I look back at him and I started running, and that’s when he’s going to pass to me. We know each other like that, so it’s easier for us to score.”
Rhett Kiser scored Harrisonburg’s final goal off a corner kick from Celio Lobo in the 66th minute.
Lee only put one shot on goal — and it happened with less than eight minutes remaining.
Halftime score: 1-0 H
Corner kicks: R 0; H 4
Shots on goal: R 1; H 15
Saves: R 10 (Guertler); H 1 (Dotas)
Scoring: H- Vargas (Calix), 9:51; Gotay, 51:43; Vargas (Gotay), 59:20; Kiser (Lobo), 65:59