The majority of the Odessa High boys soccer team’s starting lineup came into Tuesday night’s game against Lubbock Monterey with some nerves.

Almost a month into the season, several Bronchos got their first taste of playing under the lights of Ratliff Stadium with Odessa High’s varsity squad.

“It feels awesome. It feels good to be in a stadium like this,” Bronchos’ sophomore Jose Leyva said. “It meant a lot to me. That’s something I wanted to accomplish, and I accomplished it already.”

After battling those early-minute butterflies, Odessa High settled down and dominated possession to defeat Lubbock Monterey 3-0.

The first sigh of relief came in the 28th minute, when the Bronchos (7-6-1) earned a free kick about 30 yards away from goal.

Odessa High midfielder Ivan Jackson crossed the ball into the penalty box where senior Phrab Singh met it in stride. Singh then headed the ball into the back of the net for the game’s opening goal.

“I think they played a good game after they kind of shook off the nerves,” Odessa High head coach Eliseo Ortiz said about the win. “I’m happy for them.

“I think honestly, we’ve had better games, today was a good performance but I think there was some mistakes for whatever reason. There was a lot of things we didn’t do well, but I think our ceiling is really high.”

Odessa High’s structure was what masked those mistakes, as Lubbock Monterey’s scoring chances were sparse.

Leading that formation were senior center midfielders Luis Salazar and Chris Ramos, who constantly fed balls to the younger, attacking players around them.

Singh said Tuesday’s performance was a big step in the right direction for the team.

“This year it took time for us to build chemistry,” Singh said. “And I feel like every game that we play we keep building that chemistry.”

Brandon Bernal extended the Bronchos lead in the 65th minute when he dribbled the ball around a few Plainsmen defenders and slotted the ball under the left glove of Lubbock Monterey goalkeeper Adam Rodriguez.

Cain Cordova scored the game’s final goal five minutes later on a penalty kick to Rodriguez’s left that hit the post and went into the net.

That box score plays right into Ortiz’s ideas of how his team should operate, with an underclassman getting each tally.

Although they didn’t score, younger players such as Jona Ruhlander and Alan Rubio kept Lubbock Monterey’s backline on its heels for the entire game, paving the way in the end for a relaxing win.

“God-willing, we’ll get to see some awesome things from them,” Ortiz said about his younger playmakers.

Ortiz constantly talks to his team about its potential with having a much younger core of players than in previous years. Getting the experience of playing under the lights at Ratliff should help them grow with the start of District 2-6A play less than two weeks away.

{{tncms-inline account=”EricBlumOA” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">BOYS SOCCER: Odessa High takes a 1-0 lead over Lubbock Monterey 28 minutes in on this Phrab Singh header off of a free kick. Assist from Ivan Jackson. <a href=""></a></p>— Eric Blum (@EricBlumOA) <a href="">January 31, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”958514615763308544″ type=”twitter”}}