By Terry Carter
The Paetow Panthers battled a fierce wind and a rugged opponent from Northeast Early College on Tuesday at Rhodes Stadium during an area boys’ soccer playoff match. Northeast Early College won the match, 1-0.
Paetow (17-2-3) finished the season without a home loss, nor a loss on an opponent’s field. The Panthers won the District 19-5A title over Jordan with a 13-0-3 record. Northeast Early College (11-7-4) finished fourth in District 17-5A. Sophomore Albert Martinez scored the match’s lone goal on an assist from R. Neighmond.
“That’s how soccer goes sometimes,” Paetow boys’ soccer coach Vincenzo Vaccaro said. “We were confident going into half even though we were down. We gave it everything in that final half, and they had a lot of people in the box. We just couldn’t get it in.”
Vaccaro said the Panther senior goalkeeper Ismael Espinosa was outstanding this season. According to MaxPreps, Paetow scored 47 goals and allowed only 16 in 22 matches. The Panthers posted 11 shutouts, including impressive wins over Clements, Cy Woods, Brenham, Magnolia and Magnolia West.
“Ismael Espinosa is a great goalie; he can do everything,” the coach explained. “He is the best goalie I’ve coached or seen.”
The Paetow coach said he returns plenty of talent, including Angel Garcia and many others.
In other 5A soccer playoff action, the Jordan Warriors defeated Crockett on Tuesday, 2-1, to advance to Friday’s Region III quarterfinal round. Jordan will play on Friday in La Grange against Weiss.
In girls’ 5A playoff results, Jordan fell to Pflugerville Hendrickson, 1-0. The Lady Warriors end their season at 15-7-1.