In the first league game of their season, Foothill’s girls’ soccer proved they aren’t in it for kicks and giggles (well, maybe kicks) as they went head to head with the Grace Brethren Lancers on a chilly evening at Ventura College. Although the score read 0-1 at halftime, the Dragons tied the game in the second half and won by scoring a goal off a corner kick at the last minute, beating the Lancers for the first time in Foothill history, 2-1.
The game began with a Dragon kick off. After five minutes of back and forth play, Alyssa Elias ‘19 was the first to take a shot on goal, followed by Grace Combs ‘20 with an attempt of her own two minutes later. Grace Brethren took the next shot at 20:00, but it was saved by goalkeeper Hailey Villano ‘19.
At 17:00, Villano met a Grace Brethren offender at quarterfield, intending to grab the ball. However, the Lancer got the ball out behind the Dragon goalie and the ball’s momentum carried it into the net. The first goal of the night was Grace Brethren’s.
Villano quickly recovered with another save shortly afterwards, which was followed by a Dragon shot attempt from Gwynnie Redemann ‘18 right out of a free kick.
The half ended with two shots on goal by Kiera Rivera ‘21 and another save from Villano, and at the buzzer the score read 0-1.
The second half began with a close call right off the bat when the Lancer’s attempt on goal bounced down off of the crossbar and almost went in the goal but Foothill took control of the game quickly.
Team captain Sierra Anderson ‘19 contributed the team’s success in the second half to their ability to execute their coach’s plan, which was, in Anderson’s words, “to high press them and to keep putting pressure on them until they gave up the ball.”
Anderson herself executed this defensive pressure for the entirety of the second half as she worked with the defense and the midfield, not allowing Grace Brethren to keep possession and sending the ball up to create opportunities on goal for her teammates.
Also carrying out this “high press” was Kami Kunes ‘20, specifically when she had several defensive steals as well as three throw-ins all within about a minute. She was able to keep the ball on the offensive end for the dragons, and eventually got the ball to Combs who assisted an attempt on goal by Redemann.
Of all the Dragons’ shot attempts in the second half, three belonged to Elias. At 26:00 she found herself in a one on one situation with Grace Brethren’s goalkeeper and when the goalie came up, she managed to send the ball towards the unattended goal, scoring and tying the game 1-1.
The Dragons continued with aggression on the defensive end, and every shot by Grace Brethren was denied by goalie Keara Fitzgerald ‘20.
When the game clock ran out and injury overtime began, the game still sat at a tie. With a minute left, Elias sent a corner kick into a jumble of bodies right in front of the goal where Kathryn Brandi ‘18 tipped the ball into the goal, snagging the Dragon victory 2-1.
Coach Jack Craig, new to the Foothill program, said, “I think we were a little flat the first half, but we worked some things out at half time and […] everybody stepped up.”
Elias agrees that the team “came out a little slow,” and though she personally felt that she played “decent” her coach thought she “had an outstanding game.”