NYSSA — It was a real game of firsts, Thursday.
The Nyssa soccer team played the first home soccer game in school history. For the first time, the Bulldogs were playing as a member of an OSAA district. And their opponents, Four Rivers Community School, were playing the first athletic event in school history as full members of the OSAA.
The Bulldogs were able to pick up a strong 9-1 win over the Falcons in their inaugural home contest.
Nyssa coach Adam Martinez said it was a good feeling to have the Bulldogs play on their home field.
“It feels fantastic to be playing on home turf,” he said. “And we had a big crowd of community members. This is great for the kids.”
Now a member of the 3A/2A/1A Special District 4, Martinez said the Bulldogs have more of a sense of urgency about them as they are now playing for a district and a spot in the state tournament.
“It’s absolutely a boost,” Martinez said. “We’ve really emphasized working hard. And being part of a league gives them motivation and helps them stay focused.”
Playing as a unit has been a major focus for the Bulldogs early in the season.
“We’re creating a family, a community feeling,” Martinez said. “We’re really working on being organized.”
For the Falcons, taking the field as a team was a victory in itself. With just 11 players on the roster, the Falcons have been practicing for just two weeks (just over the OSAA mandated nine practices before a game).
Carter said he was happy with the performance of his players Thursday, and that while they have a ways to go, they learned a lot in their first outing.
“This is a great team,” Carter said. “They learned a lot today, and we learned a lot from watching them.”
According to Carter, the Falcons are mostly made up of sophomores and freshmen and about half of the team hasn’t played soccer competitively in years.
Roman Gonzalez is one of those players. While Gonzalez has played pickup games of soccer with friends in the past, he’s never been on a team like this. The freshman defender was a force to be reckoned with for the Falcons and was a big part of the Falcons allowing just two second-half goals.
“We just keep trying our best,” Gonzalez said. “Don’t give up.”
It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to get on the scoreboard. In just over a minute of play, Roberto Amezquita scored the first Nyssa home goal to put the Bulldogs up 1-0.
Javier Castro put up a pair of goals, at five and seven minutes, to give Nyssa a 3-0 lead.
At 14 minutes, Mario Gramajo scored on a header off a cross by Omar Tallez. Then at 18 minutes, Tallez sailed a shot just left of the goalkeeper to give the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead.
Josue Guerrero made it 6-0 on a goal at 23 minutes, sending off a shot as he collided with a Falcon defender.
At 25 minutes, Four Rivers recorded the first goal in school history as Luis Garcia scored.
But it wasn’t long before Nyssa responded. At 34 minutes, Marcos Fuentes scored to give the Bulldogs a 7-1 lead.
The Bulldogs were kept scoreless in the second half until the 60 minute mark with a goal by Nathan Esplin, who sprinted past all Falcon defenders for the one-on-one goal. Then at 79 minutes, Josue Lazo scored on a shot that just grazed the goalkeeper’s fingertips.
The Bulldogs will host McCall on Sept. 9. The Falcons are off until Sept. 14, when they host Nyssa.