Jacks net on-the-road win over Wenatchee
By Daniel Rubens
WENATCHEE – As the full time whistle sounded at the Apple Bowl, Quincy boys soccer coach Arturo Guerrero threw his arms into the air as his bench players ran onto the field to celebrate with their teammates. This Jackrabbits win over Wenatchee had been a long time coming.
“We knew we could compete with these guys,” Guerrero said. “It’s just working all week. It’s been a few years since we beat them, and, man, (our guys) worked hard.”
An early second-half goal from Quincy’s Fredy Ruiz was the difference on a chilly night in Wenatchee as the 2A Jackrabbits went on the road and pulled out a 2-1 win over the 4A host Panthers. Wenatchee came close a few times to equalizing late, but a combination of stellar defending and some luck from the posts allowed Quincy to come away from a thrilling contest with an impressive season-opening win.
Shortly after the halftime break, a shot from Wenatchee’s Josef Johnson was saved by Quincy goalkeeper Johan Farias. The Jackrabbits broke out quickly from there, with Ruiz and Orlando Serrano embarking on a 2-on-2 in the Wenatchee half. Ruiz picked up the ball, got past a Panther defender, and lifted a left-footed shot over onrushing keeper Raphael Jimenez and into the side of the net to give Quincy the lead.
“Once I cut inside, I had to take a shot to the right corner with my left,” Ruiz said. “And I got it in.”
The Jackrabbits spent much of the remainder of the contest pinned back in their own half defending their lead, and they did so spectacularly. Outside backs Joel Moreno and Kevin Rios each came up with numerous blocks or tackles to thwart Wenatchee attacks.
When they couldn’t stop the Panthers, Farias and the woodwork came to the rescue. The keeper dropped a cross that Wenatchee’s Miguel Viramontes headed off Farias’ hands and onto the crossbar, but it bounced out harmlessly. Then, Farias closed down Alex Medina and made himself big to stop an attempted volley from the Wenatchee midfielder.
Finally, a shot from the edge of the box from Fabian Soto escaped the clutches of Farias, but it didn’t beat the post, hitting the inside of the upright before a defender cleared the rebound.
The Panthers were disappointed not to get the win in a game they created more chances in, but the Jackrabbits thoroughly deserved their memorable victory, their first over Wenatchee in recent years.
“They gave up their bodies, everything,” Guerrero said. “Today it seemed like they were so focused, from the beginning to the end.”
While the Panthers came out the stronger side, it was Quincy that took the lead in the 27th minute. After a foul on the edge of the box, Francisco ‘Paco’ Alejandrez ran up and hit a rocket of a free kick off the far post and into the net past a diving Jimenez. It was a sensational strike from the senior, who two seasons ago scored 45 goals and won league MVP honors.
Within five minutes, Wenatchee drew level. Luis Navarette collected the ball in the right side of Quincy’s penalty area and floated a cross to the middle of the goal, where Tino Pantaleon rose to head it past a stranded Farias.
Neither side could break through again before the halftime whistle, and Ruiz’s goal minutes after the restart was enough to hand Quincy a win the senior-laden Jackrabbits will remember as they begin their quest for a second state title in three seasons.
Up next: Quincy hosts Chelan on Thursday in its home opener.
Highlights: Quincy – Alejandrez (1 goal), Ruiz (1 goal), Farias (8 saves). Wenatchee – Pantaleon (1 goal), Navarette (1 assist), Jimenez (8 saves).