Merced soccer rides road into D1 semifinals

Fairfield Daily RepublicNovember 1, 2012 

— Things didn't go as planned for the Armijo High boys soccer team Thursday as the Indians fell 5-1 to Merced in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinals at Brownlee Field.

Seeded 12th in the playoff bracket, Merced dominated the ball from the outset, keeping No. 4 Armijo (17-4-1) on the defensive for much of the first half.

The Bears (13-7-8) jumped on nearly every chance to score, going up 1-0 in the 15th minute when William Gomez converted on a breakaway for a 20-yard shot into the right side of the goal.

The attacks didn't slow with Merced adding goals in the 18th and 21st minutes. First, Carlos Manzo bent a perfect corner kick into the middle of the box for the waiting Billy Thao to head in out of the reach of Armijo keeper Brandon Brimer.

Three minutes later, Izy Lor launched a chest-high throw-in from the left sideline to Meng Moua, who executed a precision bicycle kick into the left corner for a 3-0 lead.

"We took pride in being road warriors," said Merced coach Aaron Ruiz. "We didn't want to come out cold. Travelling, especially to a place like Fairfield where it's a long drive, kids tend to come out a little slow. We wanted to make sure we went out 100 percent and I thought that they did a great job of that. They came out ready to play."

Merced now gets to go to Carmichael on Wednesday to face No. 1 Jesuit in the semifinals.

"You got to go through the best to be the best, is that what they say? So in that case, bring 'em on," Ruiz said. "Every team we've faced in this thing's good. "

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