The postseason can provide tricks. And it can provide treats.
For Anibal Gonzalez and the Cougars, the 4A North quarterfinals on Monday night, Halloween night, provided both a trick and a treat.
Gonzalez recorded a hat trick as the Cougars treated themselves to a 5-0 home win over Damonte Ranch.
“I thought we played well. It’s the playoffs and the guys were ready,” Spanish Springs coach Winston Mora said. “It was nerve-wracking all day so it was nice to get that done with.”
Gonzalez scored the first goal of the contest in the 14th minute, then added insurance tallies in the 60th and 75th minutes. The last score came on a free kick from 25 yards out.
The big offensive night was maybe unexpected early, as Gonzalez started playing defense. Mora changed that as the Mustangs (12-10-0), who finished fourth in the Sierra League, struggled to apply pressure.
Damonte Ranch finished with seven shots, compared to the Cougars’ 20.
“We started him (Gonzalez) as a defensive guy,” Mora said. “Then we moved him up front so that we could have a little more action.”
Eight minutes after Gonzalez’s first goal of the night, Daniel Vazquez corralled a ball the Mustangs’ keeper couldn’t and doubled the lead. The 2-0 advantage held through the half.
Austin Fullmer scored a breakaway goal in the 56th minute, to push the lead to 3-0, before Gonzalez added two more.
Spanish Springs (14-2-1), the High Desert League champion, goes to North Valleys on Wednesday to play Carson, the Sierra League runner up, in the 4A North semifinals.
The Cougars have not lost since their second game of the year – at Carson – 2-1.
“I think we’re way better now, so we’re just going to go for it,” Mora said. “These guys are very confident in themselves. I’m very confident in them. It’s a game for us that we’re going to go in and play and not worry about who Carson is and just play the game.”