By Josh Levine
Just 16 minutes in to its Academic Athletic Association semifinal matchup against Washington High School on Wednesday at Boxer Stadium, the Lowell boys soccer team found itself trailing 2-0.
That turned out to be no big deal for the Cardinals, who scored seven consecutive goals and cruised to an 8-3 victory over the Eagles to advance to the AAA championship against Mission on Saturday.
“You wonder when you’re down 2-0 if any scores will ever be enough,” said Lowell head coach Marcos Estebez. “You give up two goals early and you wonder if maybe it’s not your day. I would say we were worried.”
Four of the scores in the seven-goal burst came from junior forward Aaron Moye, with Avery Fisher, Antonio Torres, Peter Harrington and Luis Bautista each adding one score.
Lowell (12-1-3) tied up the game in the 31st minute on a corner kick that Fisher headed into the top-right corner.
Fisher’s strike allowed the Cardinals to enter the halftime break locked in a 2-2 tie and both coaches gave completely different halftime speeches.
“I told our guys that once [Lowell] scored, they made it a 0-0 game again,” said Washington head coach Horacio Barajas. “We need to keep the pressure on them.”
Estebez told his team that it needed to make appropriate defensive adjustments, especially on speedy forward Giovanni Barajas, who regularly got behind the Lowell defense in the first half.
In the second half, Barajas scored his second goal, but it was his only scoring opportunity after the break, and Lowell had already jumped ahead 7-2. The Eagles (8-6-0) only managed four shots on goal in the second half, with three coming in the final ten minutes when the game was long out of reach.