And it kept the Rams unbeaten through a quarter of the regular season as they handed Guilford its first loss with a 1-0 victory at the Maclary Complex Thursday night.
Fuentes’ goal came 21:16 into the contest as he took advantage of a mistake by the Indians’ defense for the lone score of the night.
With the Rams pressuring Guilford goalkeeper John Kosh inside the Indians’ 35-yard line, a shot ricocheted off Kosh and then bounced off the chest of Fuentes at the 30. It rolled all the way into the goal, barely sneaking past the line inside the right post.
“I saw them breaking backwards and I went there with my speed,” Fuentes explained. “I got there when the keeper was trying to clear the ball. It hit me in my chest and went in. Lucky goal, but it was the winner.”
It was a defensive match played between the 20-yard lines.
“They are a tough team and we got ready for them,” Fuentes said. “These are the kind of games won by the details.”
Cheshire dominated the first 30 minutes with possession of the ball in the Guilford end, but the Rams were only able to score the one goal.
“We deserved that goal as we controlled most of the game,” Cheshire coach Artur Branco said. “They never really had great opportunities. It was a hard fought game. They’re going to be in the L and SCC tournament. That’s a good team.”
Meanwhile, Guilford coach Curtis Gullette felt the Indians didn’t play their game early.
“We got away from what makes us Guilford,” Gullette said. “There are things we didn’t do to get the ball to who we want to have it. We finally got into that in the last 15 to 20 minutes of the game. We had our chances then and if we finish one off, it’s a whole different ball game.”
A blast by Guilford’s Cade Yerkes in the final two minutes of the first half was easily turned aside by Cheshire goalie Matthew Pisani (3 saves), while the Indians had a few shots sail well wide of the net in the final 15 minutes.
Cheshire’s biggest chance of the second half came when Kosh (6 saves) made a diving save on a shot from the left side by Ben Errington.
The Rams are now 5-0.
“When you win, everything is great,” Branco said. “I’m just worried about it if we start losing because this is a brand new team. Most of the guys we have never started for us on varsity before, but they are playing with a lot of heart.”
Guilford fell to 3-1-1 with the loss.
“It’s disappointing, but it’s early enough in the season that it doesn’t kill us,” Gullette said. “It’s something we’ll learn from. We had our chances to take this game tonight, but we didn’t capitalize on it. We have to think about it and not let it happen again.”