Lance Herring doesn’t hesitate to change strategy.
The Rice Consolidated High School boys soccer coach’s decision to do just that resulted in a victory over El Campo, avenging a 2-0 loss to the team Jan. 9.
Herring switched the team’s formation, which helped the Raiders defeat El Campo 2-1 on Feb. 3 after they had suffered two consecutive district losses. The win improved their overall record to 8-7-3, including 0-2 in the district.
The coach made the move “to get more attacking in the middle of the field and widen our forwards out,” he said. “You can’t sit in one thing.”
“The shape created enough confusion for them (El Campo),” he said.
Senior midfielders Erick Gutierrez and Greg Aguirre were in the thick of action. “We dominated the midfield,” captain Gutierrez said. “We controlled the midfield better.”
The change in formation also allowed younger players, such as freshmen Isreal Mendoza-Pizano and Miguel Vital, to see more action. “Isreal almost scored a goal,” Herring said. “The ball went right over the top of his foot.”
Returnee Gutierrez actually notched the winning goal, his second of the season. He converted his fourth penalty kick in as many attempts to give him six goals, second on the squad, and two assists. He drilled the ball to the left low corner.
“I just practice a lot of them,” he said about his success on the penalty kicks. “I don’t think he (the goalie) even moved.”
The Raiders took 16 shots, six of them on goal. “We started crashing the goal better,” Herring said, noting that they had two or three shots on some possessions.
Junior goalkeeper and captain Jacobo Robles made 11 saves, his fifth consecutive game with 11 or more stops.