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Prep soccer: Caught at the end

Canyon leads for much of the game but settles for a tie

Posted: December 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Canyon's Chad Ybarra (18) takes the ball down to the goal against Quartz Hill defenders Jose Luna (3) and Chance Carol (11) at Canyon High on Thursday. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.

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Canyon showed just how quickly things can change on the soccer field.

The Cowboys twice blew leads on Thursday night, as Quartz Hill battled back from an early hole to tie Canyon 3-3 at Canyon High School.

With just 8:40 left in the contest and Canyon (1-3-2) clinging to a 3-2 lead, the Rebels’ Alen Menjivar scored from inside the 6-yard box, his second goal of the game, to send the teams home in a draw.

The pace was quick throughout the night, with Canyon utilizing its speed through the midfield to get the ball forward and pressure the Rebels’ defense.

That formula worked right off the bat, with Canyon forward Chad Ybarra taking a pass in the midfield less than five minutes into the game and making a run on goal that resulted in the game’s opening score.

Ybarra found the back of the net again less than five minutes later, stealing the ball from a Quartz Hill defender and burying it in the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.

“We were trying to see what we have, who can play up there and who can’t, that kind of stuff,” said first-year Canyon head coach Lou Aguilera of his offensive strategy. “We’re using pre(league) to get ready for the (league) season.”

But with one whistle, the game changed.

The Cowboys were called for a penalty on the edge of the box and the Rebels were awarded a penalty kick with 23 minutes left.

The Rebels’ Joseph Beleil pulled his team within 2-1 with the ensuing kick.

“We let them back in and the one goal difference, that’s all it takes,” Aguilera said.

After the Rebels (5-1-2) tied things up with eight minutes left in the first half on Menjivar’s second goal, Ybarra again went to work.

This time he scored on a header off a cross from Justin Hill with 4:40 left in the first half for his third goal of the game.

But Canyon kept its focus on the offensive third, and eventually, that burned it.

“Everything was great at first,” Ybarra said. “We should have changed the formation to more of a defensive game and not let them score. We kind of kept after it and they got lucky goals.”

Despite the final, Canyon goalkeeper Niko Nuyda did everything he could to give the Cowboys a chance to win. The junior made 10 saves on the night.

There was a bit of controversy toward the end of the game, when Ybarra tried to catch up to a long through pass with just minutes left, but instead being allowed to play the advantage, the play was brought back to the midfield because of a foul call on Quartz Hill.

“I thought I was going to get to (the ball),” Ybarra said. “It’s frustrating.”

For Quartz Hill, after being down 2-0 and 3-2, the tie was enough under the circumstances.

“We would have liked to win,” said Quartz Hill head coach Aaron Parker. “We had a lot of opportunities. But to tie is acceptable. But a win is what we want.”

Canyon on the other hand, felt differently.

“We gave this game away,” Aguilera said. “We dominated the first half. It’s lack of experience.”

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