At this time of the year – regional time – the biggest things for any soccer team are simply wins.
For the Redskins on Tuesday night at home in a Class 2A Regional against Roanoke-Benson, the 3-0 win over the Rockets may have been worth a little more.
Not only did Morris earn the right to play in its own championship game, but the Redskins (13-4-5) also set a school record for wins with their 13th of the fall.
It wasn’t easy, however. The Rockets used a bit of an unorthodox setup in keeping the match scoreless at halftime.
“We needed to keep swinging the ball and crossing the ball. We knew eventually something was going to fall,” Morris coach David Valdivia said.
“They had everybody back with only one guy up. That makes it very hard to score a goal with nine up. They had nine in the box and they were crowding Ricardo [Del Toro]. They had three guys on Ricardo. They were glued to him.”
So what was the solution?
“We had to check the ball more and get space away from him to the outside,” Valdivia said. “Eventually the crossing came in, and Ricardo was in the right spot.”
That’s exactly how the Redskins got on the board in the 43rd minute when Nick Borgstrom assisted Del Toro.
“Nick got the first one to me off a corner,” Del Toro said. “Every time we get a corner, I am always there and I feel that we are probably going to make it. I’m used to that.”
The defense highlight of the night came about 12 minutes later when Morris defender Jose Salinas stopped a point blank shot at the back post. That came off a corner and with winning keeper Brian Vasquez occupied in the middle.
“We always have set positions because we know how vital it is to be at those positions because a goal can go in,” Salinas said. “That’s where teams always aim for, the lower corners. That’s why it’s important to have somebody there.”
“That was important. Jose is always there,” Del Toro said. “He’s always working hard and giving his all.”
With the score still dangling at 1-0, Morris finally got the cushion it needed when Chava Villanueva scored.
“The ball was rolling back to the center of the box. I controlled it and took the shot and it went off of one of their players and by the keeper,” Villanueva said. “It gave us a little bigger comfort zone. We were able to settle a little more. It was good to get that goal.”
Del Toro then put the icing on the cake in the 75th minute.
“I let the ball go through my legs and shot,” Del Toro said. “I’m not sure if the defender deflected it, but I meant to place it inside and it went in.”
Morris will play in the championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday at home.
“I was never nervous [Tuesday],” Del Toro said. “I knew that we had it. In the second half we controlled the ball better. I knew we were going to win.”
Likewise on Saturday, according to Salinas.
“It’s amazing. We had so much energy and the fans came out [Tuesday],” Salinas said. “Now, we just need to prepare for Saturday. Prepare for the win.”