CAPTION: The Marble Falls Mustangs celebrate beginning the 2022-23 season with a come-from-behind victory against Cedar Park. Courtesy photo
The Marble Falls High School boys soccer team beat Cedar Park High 3-2 Dec. 15 in the 2022-23 season opener.
Head coach Rick Hoover deliberately picked an opponent that has more students and whose youth league draws a larger number of players each year.
“I always try to schedule the hardest pre-district schedule we can get,” he said. “We have a history with Cedar Park. We’ve played them for 10 years. We knew it was going to be a good challenge.”
The Mustangs (1-0) trailed 1-0 at the half and 2-0 early in the second half before scoring three unanswered goals.
The first came from sophomore Esteban Dominguez with an assist from sophomore Marco Almazan.
Junior Isaac Larranaga was awarded a penalty kick when he was fouled inside the box.
“It was from a form tackle that looked like a linebacker taking down a running back,” Mustangs head coach Rick Hoover said.
Junior Diego Mata scored the penalty kick and made the Timberwolves pay to tie the contest at 2-2.
Senior Fernando Arreguin gave the Mustangs the lead thanks to an assist from junior Kash Bussaraporn with 13 minutes left in the match.
“The assists came from underclassmen, who weren’t intimidated, not slightly,” the coach said. “I’m super proud of the grit and heart and fight.”
While Hoover couldn’t praise the offense enough, he also was equally enthusiastic about the defense, particularly the goal keepers.
“Justin Pineda had a remarkable game,” the coach said. “With nine minutes left, he got hurt with a collision trying to save the ball. Our backup goalie had to finish. Isaac Larranaga kept them from getting the tying goal and closed out the game for us.”
He said the win against Cedar Park displayed more about his players than their soccer talent.
“What we learned was the heart, character and fight of these kids,” he said. “Those kids fought so hard, and they earned it against a much bigger opponent. They fought to the end.”
The University Interscholastic League revised realignment at the end of September. While Marble Falls remains in Class 4A, it is in a familiar region, IV, and is a member of District 25. Other district foes include Austin Achieve, Burnet, Jarrell, Lago Vista and Florence.
Hoover said he likes this district.
“We have a chance to do something good in our district,” he said. “As we have learned in our fall sports, just because you drop to 4A doesn’t stamp your tickets to the playoffs. It’s so early in the season that we don’t want to get too high on the wins or too low in the losses.”
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