PRINCETON — Anna prevailed, 1-0, over the Bonham Warriors on Thursday, Jan.5, in the opening round of the Princeton Soccer Tournament at Jackie Hendrix Stadium. In a bracing 36-degree setting, with a stiff north wind, sophomore Jose Rivas’ goal with 18 minutes left to play provided the Coyotes’ winning margin.
“Jose Rivas, he’s unique for us,” said Anna head coach Matt Ellis. “He’s probably the one on our team who can create something out of nothing. I mean, the ball is bouncing around and he’ll turn it into a goal. He just has a little bit of a knack for finding himself at the right place at the right time — and he’s not afraid to shoot. That’s the key thing. He’ll shoot and good things happen when he does.”
The mid-range shot by Rivas was a rocket, ricocheting off the goalkeeper’s hands and into the right side of the net.
“We got a little lucky with the bounce,” Ellis said. “The keeper, he deflected it, but he couldn’t deflect it out wide.”
Sophomore Javier Segura’s assist-kick from the right flat set up Rivas’ eventual match-winner.
Minutes after Anna’s goal, the Warriors pressed the net in close for their best scoring chance of the match, only to see their shot sail off the mark.
“He just mistimed his shot,” Ellis said. “We’re lucky it went wide.”
In tournament scoring, the Coyotes received eight points for the victory: six for the win, one for its goal and one for the shutout. The six other teams participating in the three-day event are Burkburnett, Princeton, Decatur, Community, Crandall and Terrell.
“I thought Bonham played really well,” Ellis said. “I thought they outplayed us for most of the match. We were inconsistent, didn’t tackle real well. We weren’t stringing passes together. But at the end of the day, you come away with a 1-0 win when you don’t play well. You’re kind of glad your guys fight and find a way to win when they’re not playing well. … Then, there’s always the negative: We’ve got things to work on to get ready for tomorrow morning’s match (versus Community).”
Anna’s goalkeepers split time this day, with sophomore Mitchell Marchant manning the post in the first half and junior Jacob Perez coming on in the second.
“I told those two guys actually before the game today, ‘Look, you guys have played well so far in preseason,‘“Ellis said. “’I’m going to keep giving you a half until one of you shows me you’ve pulled away from the other one.’ They both did well again today, so I’m pleased with them.”
Defensively, Ellis said he was pleased that his team “found a way to get a shutout.
“We’re an inexperienced group, together,” Ellis said. “As we get going, I think we’ll be better, but there are just some communications that we’ve got to do a little bit better. Overall, they covered each other pretty well. And when we made mistakes, they didn’t kill us. So it was good.”