COPPELL COWBOYS BOYS SOCCER 2020
2020 Coppell High School Varsity Seniors!!!
MARCH 5, 2020
The clock had just hit the 10 minute mark and the scoreboard was tied. The Coppell bench was on its feet and the stands behind held the same wary air.
The Cowboys had never needed a goal as bad as now this season. The team was face-to-face with Marcus, the No. 1 team in Class 6A with a near spotless 17-0-1 record. And now, Coppell was a single goal away from causing one of the biggest upsets this season.
Coppell senior striker Tom Vazhekatt knew that the team needed a clutch goal more than ever.
And he delivered.
Despite being the sole attacker in the box surrounded by three Marcus players, Vazhekatt leaped above the defenders and hit the back of the net with a header off a beautiful cross by Coppell freshman forward Preston Taylor.
“We just needed one good play to turn it around,” Vazhekatt said. “I don’t I have ever got up in the air like that. When I saw the ball go in off my header, I was ecstatic.”
The scoreboard read 2-1 at the final whistle and the field was suddenly flooded with a flurry Coppell bench and the student section bursting with celebrations.
Though Coppell had begun the District 6-6A season with a poor start, the team has completely reinvented itself since the start of the second half of the season. The team has boosted itself from second to last to third place with a 5-4-2 record, this win marks its fourth win in a row and solidifies its return to peak shape.
Marcus still holds its spot as District 6-6A leaders, but its first loss of the season will possibly see its ranking as first in the state and 12th in the nation drop.
“That was a team we wouldn’t have fully expected to beat a month ago,” Coppell senior defender Nathan Hernandez said. “This match really just proved that we are back on top… In fact, [coach James Balcom] told us that Marcus has never been 0-0 at halftime this season. Doing that against them and then coming back and winning even after being scored on is big and shows how far our team can go and how much potential we have.”
The match saw fast and energetic performances from both teams, despite several close shots, the first half ended scoreless. The second half was much more eventful– Coppell senior midfielder Caleb Razo put in a cross from the right wing in the 49th minute which deflected to Coppell freshman midfielder Nic Radicic at the mouth of the goal, leading to a tap-in goal.
The first goal prompted Marcus to considerably up its offense. However, a great performance by the Coppell defense and Coppell sophomore goalkeeper Arath Valdez held the shots at bay. Marcus eventually equalized the match in the 64th minute with a goal by Marcus senior Sam Coad off a cross by Marcus senior Hunter Hoffman.
Following Vazhekatt’s clutch goal in the final minutes, Coppell adopted a 4-5-1 formation, locking down its defense and preventing Marcus from scoring another equalizer.
It is also worthy to note Marcus missing one of its key players, senior Tomas Pondeca, who was out of town playing for the USA Futsal National Team.
Coppell plays at Irving next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
MARCH 2, 2020
The Coppell boys soccer team is prepping up to face District 6-6A leader Marcus tomorrow at Buddy Echols Field at 7:30 p.m.
The Cowboys had a poor start in the first half of district play, standing second to last with a 1-4-2 record. But with three straight wins into the second half of district season, Coppell now stands 4-4-2 at fourth place – the playoff spot cutoff.
“I feel confident going into this match,” Coppell senior defender Nathan Hernandez said. “Winning it would be a really good opportunity to show the district we are back on top and are a serious threat.”
Marcus will be one of Coppell’s best opponents yet. Marcus has shown itself to be a powerhouse this year, showing off a 10-0-0 record, and running on a 13-match long win streak.
With Nimitz (3-4-3) and Hebron (2-4-3) close on its tail, a single loss for Coppell could make it lose its playoff spot.
“I believe we are ready,” Coppell senior midfielder Adam Saif said. “We are looking good right now as a team together and have prepared all year for games like this. It’s our time to show them what we can do. We are all focused and locked in for this match against Marcus.”
FEBRUARY 23, 2020
This was not where the Cowboys had expected to find themselves halfway through the District 6-6A season.
Stepping into the season with high aspirations, the team stood 1-4-2 and second to last in the district standings before the match. Set to play the only team below it, Irving MacArthur, they were itching for a win. This was not just a normal district match, this was the match the Cowboys’ were hoping to start turning their season around.
Though Coppell had a shaky start, it ultimately came out on top with a 2-1 win, pushing it closer to the top four playoffs spots.
For the most of the first half, MacArthur dominated the field, landing several shots on goal. The problem with the Cowboys was more so in the formation than in individual performances.
The Cowboys walked onto the field with a 3-5-2 formation, which turned into a 5-3-2 when playing defense. The team had trouble working with the relatively new formation which led to defensive slip ups. The formations also gave Coppell troubles when it came to sending balls forward as midfielders tended to stay back, leaving a gaping hole between them and the offense.
However, the team changed to its classic 4-3-3 formation in the second formation which gave it the results it needed.
“We dropped to four in the back and put two center backs,” Coppell senior center back Nathan Hernandez said. “Before, we were playing three in the back and we wouldn’t be able to commit out wide to the ball… Because of having several center backs, we didn’t know when to commit to the ball or when to draw and that killed us because we were getting destroyed by three guys on each of the sides just passing up one by one.”
hings began to look up when Coppell senior midfielder Sebastian Blaas scored a penalty kick with 30 minutes remaining in the match. The scoreboard was changed once more to 2-0 with 16 minutes left when Coppell senior midfielder Caleb Razo scored with a well placed shot.
“Working collectively as a team in the second half really gave us the boost we needed,” Razo said. “Most of our slip ups were because of the lack of communication. Once everyone started talking in the midfield and having like our defense starting to communicate with their middle. We actually started to get back on track.”
MacArthur took an offensive stance in the final minutes, but only scored its first goal with only 30 seconds left in the match, leaving the score 2-1 at the final whistle.
Coppell was in a similar situation last year, where it stood at sixth place with a 2-3-0 record around half way through the district season. But in just a span of six matches, of which it won five, it shot up to the very top of the district. With last night’s win being its first win in the past six matches, Coppell hopes to once again bounce back the second half of the season.
“A lot of this year’s had a lot of the same feel, the Nimitz loss earlier this week hurt.” Coppell coach James Balcom said. “But we know this district is incredibly tough. And we’re seeing everybody’s beating up on everybody, outside of Marcus. We have played everybody tight, but we have struggled to get the results so maybe this is kind of what changes it.”
The Cowboys play at Hebron, which is at fourth place with a 2-2-4 record, on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., a win could possibly put the Cowboys very close to a playoff spot.