Zavala helps Montrose clinch Southwestern League title
For the first three years of high school, Jose Zavala’s friends wanted him on Montrose High School’s soccer team.
He couldn’t play, though — he was ineligible because he kept missing classes.
“I saw all these people playing, and well, I like to play, you know?” Zavala said Friday after helping the Indians beat Central 10-1, securing the Southwestern League championship.
This year Zavala left Montrose High School in favor of Vista Charter School, an alternative approach school in Montrose. Zavala has improved in the classroom and contributed in a big way to the Indians’ success on the soccer field, scoring three goals Friday to bring his total to 17 for the season.
“He had a rough time in school and kept getting ineligible,” Montrose coach Jim Pavlich said. “He finally got school worked out this year and he’s been awesome. He’s one of the top players on the team.”
Zavala was born in Mexico and moved to Lompoc, Calif., northwest of Santa Barbara, when he was 3 years old. It was in Lompoc that he discovered soccer.
“I saw people playing in the streets,” Zavala said. “I liked to try to play the sport and I got used to it and now I’m pretty good at it.”
Zavala kept with it, even after moving to Montrose at age 12. Even when he wasn’t playing high school soccer, he played for three club teams, including a spring team with his high school teammates and a local men’s team. Zavala said the transition to the high school game was easier because of that experience.
“Where I played was more rough soccer,” he said. “People were trying to hit you and everything because they were bigger and right now you just play normal soccer.”
Over a three-year span, his friends pushed him to get on the varsity team. This year things worked out.
“One of my friends who lives next to me was saying, ‘You should come back,’ and ‘We need you,’ ” Zavala said. “I’m like ‘Well, yeah, I’m gonna try out and see what Coach says,’ and he told me I could play.”
Pavlich said much of Zavala’s success comes from his passion.
“We want them to have a love of the ball and Jose’s a great example of that,” Pavlich said.
The Indians made quick work of the Warriors on Friday to wrap up the league title.
Zavala had the first goal of the game in the fourth minute, and the Indians added another in the sixth from Ruben Mendoza. Zavala scored again in the 19th minute and the offense kept up the pressure, scoring six goals in the first half as Central struggled defensively.
His final goal came on a cross in the second half. Central’s only goal came in the second half from Cory Rhodes.
Grand Junction lost 3-0 at home to Durango.
The Tigers lost 25-15, 25-15, 25-20. Kricket Adleman had 10 kills and Alicia Copp had nine assists for the Tigers.
Central took part in the Class 5A Region 2 meet Friday in Littleton but had no state qualifiers.
The boys team finished 11th with 357 points. Erik Newhouse finished 62nd with a time of 19:06 and Nathan Beldon finished 69th with a time of 20:23.
The girls team didn’t have enough runners to record a team score. Morgan Haynie finished 63rd with a time of 23:49.