There is a reason why you play to the final whistle.
Julio Lara/Daily Journal
Serra's Robert Peardon fires a shot and scores from 25 yards to give the Padres a 1-0 lead over Bellarmine College Prep Saturday morning. The Padres scored a last-minute goal to defeat the Bells 2-1 and run their WCAL record to 3-1-1.
Not that the boys from the Serra High School soccer team don’t already know this, but on Saturday against Bellarmine College Prep, the Padres were reminded that if you persevere through a game in its entirety, the soccer gods will often reward you.
Serra shocked the Bells 2-1 to cap off a 3-1-1 run through the grueling five-game, 11-day opening stretch of the West Catholic Athletic League season. The Padres’ Lee Vella scored the winning goal in the closing seconds of a hard-fought match when a restart on a throw-in netted Serra one final opportunity.
The final whistle blew on the ensuing touch of the ball.
"Any game with Bellarmine is going to be an 80-minute mental exercise,” said Serra head coach Jeff Panos. "So, we were quite fortunate to have a heck of an opportunity at the end of the game.”
The goal came during a test of will for both teams — 400-plus minutes of soccer over the first 11 days of the regular season meant the Padres and the Bells were itching to catch the opponent off-guard.
"I think with 10 minutes to play, fatigue set in a little bit and it became a game of counter attacks — a track meet a little bit,” Panos said.
Bellarmine dominated to begin the second half. Trailing 1-0, the Bells equalized in the 22nd minute.
"I say the first 25 minutes of the second half Bellarmine really stepped up the pressure, their possession game was incredible, they were winning the loose 50-50 balls and really capitalized on our inability to gain control of the ball,” Panos said. "And when you don’t have the ball, obviously you can’t do much in the way of attack.”
Serra was all attack in the first half and controlled the early part of the game Antoine Martel collected a ball on the left flank and sent a low diagonal pass to the feet of fellow midfielder Robert Peardon.
Peardon cut to his right, saw daylight and fired a shot from 25 yards out that beat a diving Bells keeper to his lower right to give Serra the early 1-0 lead.
It’s a lead they’d take in to halftime.
And it’s from there that the Bells’ pressure netted them the equalizing goal before both teams ran out of juice and it was the Padres who were able to take advantage of their late opportunity.
"If you can capitalize on a restart late in the game, boy, that’s a pretty big weapon to have,” Panos said.