KELLER - Robert E. Lee defeated Byron Nelson 2-1 Saturday evening in the championship game of the Rex King Memorial Tournament. Tournament MVP Sergio Saucedo, an REL senior forward, scored the game-winning goal for the Red Raiders who bring back the championship to East Texas.
“This was our fourth year here and every year we’ve bumped up a spot,” Lee coach Marty Germany said. “We played in the consolation game our first year, then consolation final, then third-place game last year, and now the championship. It’s always good competition for us against 6A schools and playing some big programs to see how we do.”
The Red Raiders (2-0-1) began Saturday by getting past Arlington in the semifinals. The two teams drew 1-1 in regulation with REL’s goal coming in the first half courtesy of Saucedo, who latched on to a blocked shot attempt by Isaac Olivares to fire it home.
Byron Nelson equalized in the second half and neither scored in extra time, setting up a penalty shootout.
It was tied 4-4 after the first five rounds and neither team blinked in the sixth round. Finally, in round seven, junior Juan Rodriguez scored and Lee keeper Anthony Pirtle saved Byron Nelson’s tying attempt to give Lee a 6-5 shootout win. Converting their spot kicks for REL were Nathan Saucedo, Edgar Sanchez, Aldair Delgadillo, Rolando Aparicio and Gerardo Gomez.
That put Lee into the evening’s final against Byron Nelson.
The frigid temperatures prompted organizers to shorten the game’s halves to 35 minutes.
Six minutes into the match and Lee was trailing when Byron Nelson earned a penalty kick and converted for a 1-0 lead.
It took a little over five minutes for the Red Raiders to equalize. After earning a free kick, Sanchez lofted the ball into the box with the deflected clearance coming to Olivares, who took one touch before firing it home.
A late corner kick gave Sanchez another chance to put the ball into the box with Sergio Saucedo this time the benefactor for a goal and 2-1 halftime lead for Lee.
The Red Raiders made it stand up with defenders Rolando Aparicio, Nathan Saucedo, Chris Escalante, Javier Arellano combining with defensive midfielders Randy Galaviz and Edward Galaviz in Lee’s 4-2-3-1 formation. Any time Byron Nelson made it through them, Pirtle was waiting to scoop any loose ball to secure the victory.
“He didn’t have to make a lot of saves. It was a physical tough match,” Germany said. “We’ve got the win and we’re enjoying it, but at the same time, we are not satisfied with where we are yet.”
The Red Raiders will next compete in the Longview Tournament on Thursday.
Lady Raiders close tourney with win over Cy Ranch
THE WOODLANDS - Robert E. Lee (1-2) closed its first week of play with a 3-2 victory over Cypress Ranch Saturday at the Lady Highland Invitational.
Senior Alex Bice scored two goals, Claire Carnes had a goal and an assist and Jazmine Navarro finished with two assists in the victory.