The Virgin Valley High School Bulldog soccer squad had an impressive two day run placing third in the fifth annual Mesquite Cup. It was the highest placing for a Bulldog soccer team since the Cup began.
The Bulldogs began play Friday afternoon against Spring Creek High School of Elko Nevada. The Bulldogs came out with aggressive play taking it to the Elko squad but trailed but trailed 1-0 16 minutes into the match. It was a wake-up call for the experienced Mike Pletzke led squad as Moise Medina struck goal a minute later and followed it up with another goal to give the Dawgs a 2-1 lead. Gabby Medina followed younger brother on the scoring column with a penalty kick to increase the Bulldogs lead to 3-1. Moise was not finished as he completed the ‘Hat Trick’ with another goal 28 minutes into the match to give the Dawgs a 4-1 halftime lead. It was a great half for the Dawgs as they showed great pin point passing and excellent team work during the first 30 minutes of play. “We moved the ball better today than we had all of last year,” said Coach Pletzke during his first half pep talk. The Dawgs wouldn’t let up in the second half as they continued to dominate Spring Creek. Bulldog Roman Perez hit goal at the 45 minute mark and Gabby Medina added another goal two minutes later to give the Dawgs a seemingly insurmountable 6-1 lead. Spring Creek surprised the Dawgs hitting a penalty kick 54 minutes into the game. Pletzke pulled most of his starters the rest of the way. Bulldog freshman Nathan Hulet finished the scoring striking goal with three minutes left in the match. Domingo Ramirez had the assist. The final score found the Bulldogs on top 7-2 moving them on to the semi-finals against a strong Canyon Springs team.
A huge crowd greeted the Bulldogs Friday night as they met a strong Division 1 opponent in Canyon Springs out of Las Vegas. The Pioneers jumped on the Dawgs early scoring goal minutes into the first half to take a 1-0 lead. The rest of the first period was a defensive struggle as neither team could manage an attack until seconds remained when Bulldog Gabby Medina slipped through the Pioneer defense for a goal to tie the match going into the break. The Pioneers added a goal on a penalty kick to retake the lead 2-1. The Bulldogs tied the match at 2-2 with a goal with eight minutes remaining. The match ended in a 2-2 tie. The Pioneers moved on in the tourney bracket winning a 5-4 kickoff to advance to the finals.
Another great turnout Saturday morning set up an entertaining day of soccer. The Bulldogs faced Pahrump Valley at 10:30am. The Dawgs came out lethargic and did not match up well with the Trojans. The Trojans jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 24 minutes of the match. The deficit woke up the Medina brothers and the Bulldog offense as Gabby and Moise scored goal within one minute of each other to tie the match at 2-1 going into halftime break. “I like the response of our team after being down,” said a smiling coach Pletzke during the break. The second half was all Bulldogs as they came out with an attitude and took the game to the Trojans. Moise Medina hit goal three minutes in followed by Gabby’s goal three minutes later giving the Dawgs a 4-2 lead. Bulldog Efron Rodrigues upped the Dawgs lead to 5-2 on a sweet pass from Gabby. The Trojans responded with a goal of their own at the 48 minute mark to cut the Dawgs lead to 5-2. The Medina brothers again struck goal within one minute of each other putting the match out of reach for the Trojans. Ozzie Cabrera assisted Moise and Gabby’s goal was unassisted. The final score found the Dawgs on top 7-2. “I’m extremely proud of our effort during the tournament,” said coach Pletzke. “It was well done as we pushed forward when down and gave effort, I can’t ask for anything more. We proved to ourselves that we have what it takes to compete against the better teams.” Coach Pletzke’s final remarks to the kids, was take the rest of the weekend off. The Bulldogs face a three game road trip before returning to host Chaparral on September 15.
Canyon Springs won the tournament with a 3-2 win over Coronado High School. The crowds were huge and the tournament was outstanding. Tournament Director Sean FitzSimons and his volunteers should be commended for a job well done. The only negative this reporter witnessed was the lack of a medical trainer to cover the event. Injuries were common place especially amongst the girls’ teams.