LONGVIEW - The Robert E. Lee boys soccer team closed out its weekend at the Lobo Invitational by blanking Jacksonville 2-0 on Saturday afternoon. The win gave the Red Raiders a 2-1 record at the event, which began on Thursday.
In its three games, REL lost to Katy Tompkins 2-0, defeated Red Oak 1-0 and Jacksonville 2-0 to raise its overall record to 5-1.
"We won our group with two wins and one loss, and getting two out of three wins when two of our three opponents (went deep in the playoffs last year) was a good weekend," REL coach Marty Germany said. "We are not where we want to be as a team yet, which is good because we aren't playing our best soccer. The boys feel the same way. They are happy with the wins, but (want to keep improving)."
Against Jacksonville, the game was scoreless until deep in the second half as both teams struggled to play on what Germany deemed "a kind of mushy (grass) field" because of recent rainfall.
Germany said the Red Raiders were continually losing their footing, but things improved in the second half.
"The other half of the field was firmer and (with us attacking that end in the second half), we took advantage," Germany said. "We were able to play a little better possession game."
In the end it was brilliant strike by Edgar Sanchez that proved to be the game winner. A clearance by Jacksonville fell to Sanchez, who was just outside of the box. The senior settled and unleashed a 25-yard rocket into the back of the net.
With 15 minutes remaining, Lee doubled its lead thanks to an unfortunate handball by Jacksonville in the box. An Indians player attempted to slide tackle REL's Chris Escalante near the end line, but in so doing slid by his cut back with only his arms remaining to try to block Escalante's crossing pass.
The referee pointed to the spot and Sergio Saucedo converted for the 2-0 win.
Lee keeper Anthony Pirtle made four saves, highlighted by him stopping a breakaway by racing out to take possession for his second clean sheet in as many days.
The Red Raiders next face Kilgore on Tuesday. The game against last year's 5A semifinalist is scheduled for 7 p.m. at R.E. St. John Stadium in Kilgore.