Three more wins in Delta's Homecoming week have vaulted Delta's Panthers into a great position as the post-season playoffs loom near. Delta is fifth in state 4A rankings with its 10-2-1 overall record and is in the top 25 in this year's race for state playoff berths.
Delta coach Elaine Wood remains confused as to the true classification of her Delta Panthers' soccer team. "We keep getting moved from 4A WSL to 4A/5A SWL. Right now we are in 4A WSL and are in the lead with our 10-2-1 record. However, because of playing less league games we are in third and can't win the league title.
"When you look on MaxPreps for overall status, we are ranked fifth. In looking at the playoff picture, we are first in our league with 31 points. Per MaxPreps, when it comes to strength of schedule, we are ranked 22nd and that means we should make the playoffs."
The Panthers got the best of league-rival Palisade (6-3) in a Monday (Sept. 30) contest in Delta. On Tuesday, Delta was faced with a back-to-back contest with visiting Grand Valley. The Panthers won that contest 2-1.
A Saturday contest — Coach Wood termed it the "biggest game of the season" — at home against 4A WSL's league-leading Battle Mountain was a monumental win (2-1) to bolster Panther confidence heading into playoff action in a couple of weeks.
Delta 3, Palisade 2
Freshman sensation Abraham Ontiveros scored four of Delta's six goals in a runaway over the Bulldogs.
Delta's first game of the season was a loss to the Bulldogs.
The Panthers had three goals in the first half and equaled that feat in the second half to win going away.
Juniors Elier Pulido and Kai Maulhardt scored the other two goals for Delta. Ontiveros was credited with two assists with Maulhardt dishing out three.
Jonathan Rosales had one assist and Lane Sanders had four saves in front of the net.
Delta 2, GV 1
Against Grand Valley on Tuesday, junior Jack Bair dished out an assist to Ontiveros, who was the sole source of Delta's scoring output in the 2-1 win. Ontiveros scored a goal in each half with six shots being taken during the match.
Nathaniel Gomez and Jack Bair each had an assist, with Sanders picking up a save.
Delta had 39 shots on goal in the game.
Delta 2, BM 1
The third of three soccer matches in one week was a great win for Delta High School.
The Panthers took on last year's state champions who were ranked third coming into Saturday's match in Delta.
Delta handed the Battle Mountain Huskies their first league loss of the season last Saturday morning in Delta. The only other loss for Battle Mountain was a 2-1 loss to Summit, giving it a 9-2 overall record.
Brandon Osorio scored the Huskies' lone goal, with Roberto Diaz getting an assist.
Delta scored goals in each of the two halves of play. Bair crossed the ball in to Ontiveros who took the scoring shot that gave the Panthers a 1-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Alex Quintero scored to give Delta a 2-0 advantage. The Huskies scored their lone goal later in the half.
The final minutes of the match were furious. "As Battle Mountain pressured with an onslaught of players trying to score, we held them defensively. This was the fastest game I have seen all season," noted Wood.
Sanders had three saves (the last coming at the end of the game). "It was truly magnificent," reported Wood.
The lone match scheduled for the Panthers this week is with Eagle Valley's Devils in Gypsum on Saturday. The match is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Delta finishes its regular season on Oct. 17 against Moffat County in the Panthers' Senior Recognition game scheduled for 4 p.m.