One Goal Just Enough For Kilgore As Bulldogs Reach Regional Final With 1-0 Shutout Of Kaufman
TYLER -- Efficiency was not the name of the game for Kilgore, which turned its myriad of scoring opportunities into just one goal. That was all it took.
Christian Galvan continued his torrid stretch with an early-second half goal, vaulting Kilgore to a 1-0 win over Kaufman in their Class 4A Region II semifinal Friday evening at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
Kilgore (24-3-1), winners of 21 consecutive matches, will meet Wilmer-Hutchins (16-2-1) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday back in Tyler with a berth at next week's UIL state soccer tournament on the line.
"Obviously, we're excited that we're moving on to the next round," said Kilgore first-year coach Austin Walker. "It was definitely a very hard-fought game both ways. We kept having chance after chance, but we couldn't put one away. We got one and, thankfully, that's all you need to win."
Kilgore held a massive 28-8 advantage in shots and led Kaufman (17-7-1), 13-5, in shots on goal for the match.
"Great effort by our boys and great effort by the Kaufman boys," Walker said. "They were down two key players and they did very well to step up and compete."
Despite thoroughly outplaying Kaufman in the first 40 minutes, the two teams entered halftime deadlocked at 0-0.
It didn't take long for the score to change.
Kaufman keeper Jesus Galindo saved a header coming off a Collin Nutt throw-in, but Galvan was there for the rebound and shot, which gave Kilgore a 1-0 lead a little more than two minutes into the second half.
"We were putting some pressure on them the whole time, we just couldn't quite sneak one in," Walker said. "We had a couple passes and through-ball and we were able to finish it. It's always good to get a goal and be rewarded for what we were working for the whole half and the whole first half."
For Galvan, it was his fourth goal of the week after the junior recorded a hat trick, scoring all three goals in Kilgore's 3-1 playoff win over Athens on Monday night.
"He's definitely had a hot foot here recently in the last couple of days," Walker said. "He's starting to put things on target and they're starting to go in for him. But we really believe that if one person gets it that's great, but if he can't get it somebody else is going to step up. Across the board, everybody has a few goals and we like to be able to spread it (out), and spread out who scores. Galvan's definitely had a hot foot finding the goal, and he did it again for us."
Kaufman had three chances to find the equalizer, but the Lions were turned away in each instance, thanks to Kilgore's tightened defensive approach.
"We always try to come out hard 100 percent, but getting that quick goal really lifted us up and opened it up for more chances," Walker said. "They kinda had to try to counter and it allowed us to focus defensively, and not necessarily offensively. And we just tried to finish the other chances that we had."
CJ Linn's mid-range shot was saved by Kilgore goalie Tomas Tapia with 29:13 remaining. Linn had another chance with about 12 minutes to go when he was on the receiving end of a long pass from Pedro Vallejo, but his shot went right of the goal.
Kaufman's final opportunity came with less than five minutes to play when Tapia stopped a shot attempt from Ulises Cruz.
The Lions had little trouble early on applying pressure to Kilgore's goal. Kaufman produced six solid scoring chances in the game's first 18 minutes, but it was all Kilgore for the remainder of the first half and most of the second.
"We just changed and went back to what we practiced last week," Walker said of his team's defensive adjustment. "We have our back six, and that's a pretty good close-knit group. We decided to move the wider players up and just collapse the field on each side. Swarm to the ball, and the closest person pressures and everybody else helps them out. We were able to execute that well in the second half. Yeah, the defense was definitely first on the list at halftime."