Rider Advances To State

For the second straight day, an El Paso region team faced off against Rider, and for the second straight time, the Raiders came away a 1-0 win.

Rider earns a trip back to the state tournament with the win over El Paso De Valle in the Region I-4A Final.

"I don't even know how to express how I feel," senior Jonathan Munoz said.

For the second straight match, Munoz played a vital role in the lone goal. With less than five minutes to go in the first half, Munoz lined up with the wind at his back from 40-plus yards away.

"At first I was just going to chip it in there and let somebody get their head in, but then Brandon (Williams) was like put it on frame and shoot it," he said.

The shot sailed high, finding the top-corner for the score.

"He puts dangerous balls in the box," Rider head coach Josh Hill said.

Rider played shutdown defense in the second half playing against the wind. De Valle's best chance to score came on a penalty kick with under four minutes to go in the match. Rider's Drake Szczepinski lined up one-on-one with Bryan Garcia.

"You just got to guess right," Szczepinski said. "I kind of figured he was going to go that way."

The shot went to Szczepinski's left. He dove and deflected it away. Rider fans erupted.

"He's made a lot of big saves, but that's the biggest save I've ever seen him make," Hill said.

Rider will play Mount Pleasant in the state semifinals at Birkelbach Field in Georgetown on Friday at 4:00 p.m.