A successful penalty kick in overtime Friday night gave the Apache men’s soccer team the first half of the win-win outcome their were looking for this weekend.
Sophomore midfielder Alan Rovira’s kick with 1:43 left in overtime sent the ball a little right of the San Jacinto College’s goalkeeper Miguel Alvarez who elected to go left.
The decision sealed the 2-1 win for the Apaches who have an opportunity to claim home field advantage in the upcoming playoffs with a win Saturday against Coastal Bend College.
That game is set for 1 p.m. at Pat Hartley Field.
Tyler Junior College scored in the first half on a goal by freshman midfielder Mike Paye. That 1-0 lead lasted through halftime.
San Jacinto finally got on the board with 22:55 left in the second half on a right-side kick from forward Jaime Rodriguez.
The game remained 1-1 until the end of regulation despite close calls for both teams.
The penalty occurred when Apache Fernando Castellanos was taken down inside the box and TJC elected Rovira to take the shot.
TJC Coach Steve Clements said his team came out with a solid win despite a not-so-solid performance.
“I thought we played in spurts,” he said. “We went to sleep in the second half until they (San Jac) scored then we woke back up.”
The Apache also had to “patch” together a backfield after injuries sideline a player and then his backup, Clements said.
San Jac’s Coach Ian Spooner said he was disappointed in some of the calls or non-calls by the referees — especially one near the two-minute mark in overtime that gave TJC the ball and set up the play that ended in a penalty.
“Other than that, Tyler played well,” Spooner said. “TJC dominated the first half and we dominated the second. We should have come out with at least a tie. My boys didn’t deserve to lose, especially the way they played.”
TJC ended the game with six shots on goal and seven corner kicks. San Jac had two and three respectively.