With about 15 seconds remaining in Moriarty’s boys soccer matchup against East Mountain this week, the Timberwolves had an opportunity to tie the game on a free kick. But as the high, arcing shot approached the goal, Moriarty’s goalkeeper Isaac Dominguez jumped up and snared it with two hands like a wide receiver catching a touchdown pass. Dominguez dropped to the ground, cradling the ball in his arms as the final whistle sounded.
“I was just making sure it didn’t go in,” Dominguez said. “Once I got the ball, it was over and that was it.”
On Sept. 7, East Mountain upended Moriarty in overtime in Sandia Park. Two weeks later, the Pintos got a little payback on their home pitch.
East Mountain’s Tyler Burnette scored a pair of goals in the Sept. 21 rematch. But brothers David and Bruno Vaquera each knocked in a goal, and James Bentley scored the game-winner to give the Pintos a 3-2 victory.
“Yeah, it was pretty much the same game script as last time, just a different result,” Moriarty head coach Jordan Allcorn said.
Moriarty got things started in the 26th minute when Bruno Vaquera sent a cross pass from the right corner into the middle of the 6-yard area where teammate Cash Spindle was positioned to make a play. But before the ball got to Spindle it grazed off an East Mountain player and into the net for an own goal. Bruno got credit for the goal.
The score remained 1-0 until the 60th when David Vaquera launched a 30-yard free kick to the mouth of East Mountain’s goal. The T’Wolves’ goalkeeper got his hands on the kick but couldn’t hold on to it. The ball rolled into the net and the Pintos were sitting on a 2-0 cushion.
“We had two own goals, essentially,” East Mountain head coach John Larson said.
“I think David put a little dip on it, and it was pretty well struck,” Allcorn added about David Vaquera’s goal.
East Mountain got on the board in the 62nd when Jonathon “LJ” Sabrowski sent the ball to Burnette who took one touch before pounding it past the far post.
“That first one he scored, that was a laser,” Allcorn said about Burnette’s goal.
“LJ just hit it right to me, it was perfect,” Burnette said. “One touch, right in the side net.”
Burnette nailed the equalizer six minutes later during a counterattack that pulled Dominguez away from Moriarty’s goal. Burnette pushed the ball past the diving Domiguez to knot the score at 2-2.
“I think he thought he could beat me to the ball, and I just hit it around him,” Burnette said. He was clearly out of breath and added, “This is the tiredest I’ve felt after a game so far.”
In the 79th, Bruno Vaquera dribbled into the 18, worked his way around a pair of East Mountain defenders and slid the ball over to Bentley who punched it in for the game-winner.
“I was just in the right place, in a dangerous place, and I got the ball and just kept my composure,” Bentley said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
“Everything happened so fast that it’s kinda just in your mind, like you don’t know what to do but you know what to do, you know, muscle memory,” Bruno Vaquera said about his game-winning assist.
“I thought at the start of the game they looked to have the better part of it and then we kinda settled in, started gaining more opportunities, it was just a great battle,” Allcorn said about the game, adding, “The last time [the two teams played], they made one more play than we did, and this time we made one more than they did—it’s a fun rivalry this year.”
“I was real happy,” Larson said. “We were a little short, we were down to 11 [players], but it was a great game to watch, wasn’t it?”