Both teams got their second tie of the season, Tulare Union ends preseason above .500
TULARE – Emotions were high between Golden West and Tulare Union. Both teams were desperate for momentum heading into league play as the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
The last 11 minutes of regulation gave the fans a game’s worth of excitement. After trailing 1-0 at half, Tulare Union scored on a penalty kick that visibly agitated Golden West head coach John McCaw and his players. The goal was the 20th of the season for junior captain Jesus Enriquez. The program single season record for most goals in a season is 24 and he is well on pace to break that mark by the end of this year.
About a minute later, junior Ryden Medeiros hit a strong left footed goal off of an out of bounds pass from senior Jon Rising. There were several moments in the game where Rising was subbed in to make an out of bounds pass and this one resulted in a goal that gave his team the lead.
Three minutes later, Golden West evened the score. The physicality from both teams was high throughout the entire game resulting in several penalties. The Blazers earned their own penalty kick and they converted it into a goal that tied the game. That was the last goal of the night as the teams played an extra 20 minutes but could not score again. Golden West scored the game’s first goal off a well-placed head shot during the 33rd minute of the first half.
Tulare Union is playing their first season in Division II after moving up a division after last year. This match against the Blazers was the end of a challenging preseason schedule. It was their 17th and final game of 2019 with only two of those being at home. They finished 8-7-2 and accomplished their goal of staying above .500 during that span. It also capped off a tough week where they played four Division I teams in five days. They went 1-2-1 during that stretch.
“[Those teams] definitely exposed a lot of our weaknesses,” Tulare Union head coach Mike Shaffer said. “Physically we can compete but we need to work on being better teammates as far as communication on the field.”
The Tribe is hoping to make another run at a league title after losing in the championship game. Their first league match will be Thursday, Jan. 2 at Monache.