CORINTH — In a hard-fought battle against a hungry Denton squad, it was the Lake Dallas boys soccer team who mustered just enough plays to keep its undefeated district record intact.
Behind two goals from junior Anthony Patti and a stellar defensive effort in the second, the now back-to-back 8-5A champion Falcons (8-0-3) recorded a 2-1 comeback victory over the Broncos on Senior Night to extend their unbeaten streak to 11 games Monday.
“We knew it was going to be tough because they had to win, so it wasn’t going to be one of those didn’t-matter kind of games,” said Brandon Martin, Lake Dallas head coach. “I told the boys to try to approach it like a playoff match, like as a team that both teams are trying to win it. It was Senior Night, so that was something that kind of comes into play, too, trying to get everybody involved. It was good to see us come from behind.”
Lake Dallas did just what it has a number of times last season, a 2018-19 campaign that saw the Falcons make history by winning a district crown and making a trip all the way to the regional finals.
Denton scored first on Danny Re Calderon’s goal with just over 14 minutes left in the first half, but the Falcons withstood the Broncos’ early advantage by coming back just minutes later to get the crowd revved up on Senior Night.
Patti found his way to the right spot and put a ball in the back of the net with 1:20 remaining before halftime, and his big night would not stop there as his offensive display helped Lake Dallas register yet another victory on its impressive district resume.
With only 1:40 left in the contest, Patti tallied his second goal to put the Falcons ahead 2-1 on his game-winning score.
“They were pushing up because they needed to get a win,” Martin said. “We’ve been doing a good job of countering teams that are doing that. We have some speed up front. Brock (Pope) made a good ball in to Lando (Orlando Castro), Lando beat the guy and Patti was in the right spot.”
During that second half, Denton had a plethora of opportunities to find its way to goals and perhaps find its way on top against the No. 1 team in the district.
As 37:34 remained on the clock, Denton had what looked to be its best chance to take a second-half lead, but its shot landed just right of the net. Two minutes later, another opportunity opened up, but its shot sailed too high.
After that, the stingy Lake Dallas defense came away with crucial plays to hold off any Broncos rally, which included impressive saves from senior goalie Kaleb Irving, whose play all evening sparked the Lake Dallas PA announcer to tell the crowd to recognize just what he was doing.
“Kaleb has been pretty good and solid this season, especially since we started district,” Martin said. “We got Julian (Fernandez) back tonight. That was the first game he played in — he’s been out all season. Having him back was going to make our defense a whole lot more solid. I know that they were pressing just because they had to. Just in the right spot at the right time.”
One more game remains on the gauntlet for Lake Dallas – whose last defeat came nearly two months ago on Jan. 17 — before postseason play begins when it heads to Denton Ryan at 7 p.m. on March 16.