Robert E. Lee remained undefeated in district and Henry Plancarte posted a fifth-straight clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Mesquite Horn Friday at the Lee Soccer Field.
The Red Raiders received a last-second goal from Isaias Robles in the first half and Plancarte made it stand up against a barrage of shots by the Jaguars in the second half.
Plancarte was twice forced to make diving saves in the second half, the second one a sprawling fingertip stop.
“I was actually very surprised; I was not expecting all of their shots to be on target,” said Plancarte, a junior enjoying his first season as starting goalkeeper. “I’ve been working hard to keep the skills up and try to do what I have to do to get them out. They were a great team, but we were able to shut them out.”
Lee raises its overall record to 8-3-1 and has accumulated a maximum nine points from its three District 12-5A games to remain in first place. The Jaguars (1-1, 3 pts) suffered their first district setback.
The Red Raiders have outscored their league opponents 5-0 and have allowed just seven goals all season.
“I thought in the first half all Henry had to do was catch balls because they were all hit right to him,” Lee coach Marty Germany said. “But in the second half he had to make some athletic saves. I don’t think we helped him out in front with our midfield play; we need to play cleaner, but he came out when needed to and got another clean sheet and that is what we ask him to do.”
The biggest surprise may be Lee senior Lumi Kaba being kept off the scoresheet. The senior had averaged at least a goal per game in five of the Red Raiders last six games.
Kaba had many opportunities to increase his team-leading goal tally (16) in the first half of Friday’s game. With 11 minutes off the clock. Kaba fought his way for position and headed across the goalkeeper, forcing the Horn stopper to look and hope the header missed the open net, which it did by a few feet.
Minutes later Kaba found space again near the top of the box and let loose a ferocious effort that drifted just wide.
Both teams pressed for the opener, but it wasn’t until the final seconds of the first half that Lee broke the deadlock. Mikey Wilkins played a ball into the box that wasn’t cleared away far enough, enabling Robles to volley the loose ball into the top of the net.
“He put himself in a great spot,” Germany said of Robles’ goal. “For him to just hang in there and get into that space that we’ve talked about where balls come out and scored with seconds left in the half was great. That is a big confidence builder for him.”
It was the freshman Robles’ first varsity goal and it turned out to be the game-winner, but not without a few close calls due to Horn using Plancarte’s goal as a shooting gallery.
The Jaguars twice won free kicks in dangerous spots, but both times, the shots did not trouble Plancarte. The Lee keeper saved his best for last, doing enough to deny Horn’s Erik Macias’ volleyed drive with four minutes remaining. Macias’ shot looked destined for the back of the net, if not for Plancarte getting enough of a fingertip to push the ball on the left goal post.
“It was barely fingertip; I even told him after the game (how good a shot that was),” Plancarte said. “We’ve played 12 games and that is the most shots I’ve faced. He definitely surprised me (with that volley).
“We have a strong defense and the guys are talking and we hope to continue on and keep winning.”
Raider Rap: In the junior varsity game, Lee and Mesquite Horn drew 1-1 with the Red Raiders’ equalizing goal coming from a free kick by Erick Vargas.