OTTAWA – It’s one thing when you have a goal-scoring machine like Gio Resendez but when you add an impenetrable defense to his scoring, that’s a pretty potent combination … and that’s what the three other teams in the Ottawa Soccer Invitational faced on a hot, steamy Saturday at King Field.
Resendez had another great day for the Pirates, registering seven goals and an assist in their three matches, and that, in combination with a team defense that did not allow a single goal in any of those three contests, gave OHS first place at its own event.
In the final match, Resendez scored all of his team’s goals for a 3-0 victory over DePue-Hall, with goalkeeper Jackson Damron and the defense in front of him keeping the Little Giants to only a couple of serious scoring threats.
The trio of wins gives Ottawa (12-2) four victories in a row.
“We faced Sycamore earlier this week, a really solid team, and against them we saw we needed to work on some things, but the guys learned from the loss,” Ottawa coach Jeff Davis said. “We applied some of those things and had our best game of the season Thursday [against Plano] and a really good day today. We’ve turned a corner, and we’re headed toward where we want to be, playing smart and playing with energy.”
Resendez opened the scoring against DePue-Hall with an unassisted goal after a sideline throw-in in the fourth minute of play, then it was Damron’s time to shine. Three minutes later, he stopped then covered a penalty kick from the Giants’ Mauricio Ruiz, and two minutes after that stonewalled a point-blank 20-foot shot from Francisco Moreno.
“We had a few chances, but I’m happy with our effort today,” said D-H coach Martin Moreno, his club now 5-8 after an 0-3 day. “Ours is a young team, and we played these teams well, but you can see the difference. We had a couple of mistakes on defense, and that killed us.”
Another Resendez score made it 2-0 in the 15th minute, and it went to 3-0 in the 35th minute when Resendez deftly lobbed a shot over charging DePue-Hall keeper Yahir Carbajal for his third goal of the match and 28th of the season.
“This is our home field, obviously, and we have to defend it, so we don’t want anyone to score on us here on our home field,” Resendez said. “Playing physically is part of the game, right? We didn’t let them push us into being emotional about it. We just let our game do the talking.”
“Gio wants the scoring record, goals and assists. In fact, he’d pass it to me if he thought I had a chance to score a goal for us,” Davis said. “Gio knows what to do in those kind of situations. I have to mention that all three of my keepers played, but Jackson Damron did a majority of the work in goal for us, and he was outstanding.
“You have to give credit to the entire team, though. These were team wins, all three.”
In the first match of the day, the Pirates captured a 5-0 decision over Sandwich. Noah Gross, off a pass from Resendez, netted the first goal, before Jonathan Szewczuk turned a Edwin Nurinda pass into a 2-0 lead. Resendez got the first of his two goals with four seconds left in the half, thanks to a pass from Kenny Harsted. Resendez, assists by Szewczuk, and Brian Diederich, assisted by Nurinda, added second-half scores.
Later, OHS defeated Clifton Central, 3-0, on a pair of Resendez goals, one of them assisted by Szewczuk, and another score from Diederich, aided by Raymond Moore.
Sandwich fell to 0-12-1 going winless on the day, although it did manage to snap its 24-game losing streak with a scoreless tie vs. Clifton Central. Defensive standouts for the Tribe were Luis Baez, Alex Alfaro and keeper Jack Schultz.
In addition to the loss to the Pirates, the Indians fell to DePue-Hall, 5-1, despite a goal from freshman Kayden Page. He leads SHS with four goals this season.