The Foothill Dragon Press

Girls’ soccer falls short in a 1-0 loss against the Cardinals

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Girls’ soccer falls short in a 1-0 loss against the Cardinals

Grace Combs '20 sprinting down the field with the ball. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Grace Combs '20 sprinting down the field with the ball. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Grace Combs '20 sprinting down the field with the ball. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Grace Combs '20 sprinting down the field with the ball. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Dylan Mullaney

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On Dec. 10, the girls’ soccer team faced the Cardinals of Santa Paula High School, rivals who had previously been in the same league. During the 2017-18 season, the Dragons were matched up against the Cardinals twice, tying 2-2 with double overtime and losing a second time by a hair in a 1-0 match. The Dragons were defeated in a close match, resulting in a 1-0 loss.

Santa Paula’s sheer size and speed advantage proved to be a challenge. Angie Albarran ‘19 felt that “at first, we came in a little soft.”

Cami Becker ‘19 added that they “underestimated” this high intensity matchup, as the Cardinals were “a lot more composed” than expected.

 

 

Santa Paula started off the game with a kick off at center field, controlling the ball back onto their half of the field. Within the first 30 seconds, the Dragons gained possession of the ball and delivered two through balls past the Cardinals’ defensive line, but were unable to get a shot off.

The Cardinals delivered the first shot on goal at 36:14, which was snatched up by goalkeeper Keara Fitzgerald ‘20. Santa Paula continued to push the tempo, taking multiple shots on goal by outsprinting the defenders. The Dragons were unable to gain momentum; although Fitzgerald stopped any opposing shot attempts, Foothill was unable to push the ball to the opposite side of the field. At the 17 minute mark, Fitzgerald had a great save from a one-on-one opportunity for the Cardinals, diving on the ball after they attempted to chip it over her head.

The Dragon’s strength from the backside eventually pushed into offensive opportunities from long goal kicks, and Alyssa Elias ‘19 had the first shot attempt of the game. The hard driven, grounded ball missed just to the right of the goalposts. Using that momentum, the Dragons forced another shot on net from a leading throw in, but the opposing goalkeeper just managed to get her fingers on it.

After the sudden spark of connectivity, the Dragons struggled to formulate an offensive run. Becker and Fitzgerald, along with their other teammates on the back line worked hard to keep the ball out of the Dragons’ net.

Just before halftime, Fitzgerald came up the field to about 30 yards from the goal to take a free kick, but couldn’t get the ball through to the net. At the end of the dominating first half controlled by the Cardinals, the players took to the bench to review their game plan.

 


During halftime, the team reevaluated their goals for the game and refocused, and as coach Jack Craig said, “it changed the game completely.”

The Dragons took the kickoff in the second half, but were deterred by the Cardinals’ quickness to jump on and possess the ball, and Fitzgerald made a save within the first 30 seconds. With under ten minutes into the second half, a missed attempt to clear the ball in commotion in the Dragon’s 18 yard box allowed for a shot to slip by a screened Fitzgerald, putting the Dragons at a 1-0 disadvantage.

The Dragons picked up the pace, and Albarran said that “our coach let us know [at halftime] that we needed to make diagonal passes to send balls up to our players because they’re also fast.”

Alyssa Elias '19 fighting for the ball with an opponent. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Alyssa Elias ’19 fighting for the ball with an opponent. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Muriel Rowley ‘20 and Elias worked to get a touch on the many crossed corner kick opportunities, but struggled to connect with the passes.

Following the crowded areas caused by corner kick attempts, Grace Combs ‘20 and Kiera Rivera ‘21 found shot opportunities, and the Dragons drew fouls that resulted in free kicks outside the 18-yard box. With only 2:34 left in the game, Fitzgerald delivered a cross that almost connected on the backside with Rowley, but was deflected by a defender. The game ended with a corner kick with nine of the 11 Dragons on the field in the box, working the numbers to get a touch on a loose ball, but did not find success. Becker was “super proud of how we did because of  the intensity and teamwork we showed in the the second half.”

Albarran echoed that “by the end of the second half we had great intensity.”

 

 

Coach Jack Craig was “very happy” with the outcome of the game because they “competed very well.”

He stated that “the difference in the game is one defensive mistake,” and “not putting the ball in the back of the net.”

Craig is proud that “the girls worked hard, and they worked together.”

He explained that the girls “have a lot to learn in a little bit of time,” but believes that they will find success as long as they “focus on the positive.”

They will need the energy coming off this game to push them into their next match against Oaks Christian. As a result of their tough non-league matchups, Craig is confident that “by the time league gets here, the regular teams won’t stand a chance.”

Kiera Rivera '21 before the kick. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Kiera Rivera ’21 before the kick. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Grace Combs '20 sprinting down the field with the ball. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Grace Combs ’20 sprinting down the field with the ball. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Alyssa Elias '19 battling for the ball. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Alyssa Elias ’19 battling for the ball. Credit: Olivia Sanford / The Foothill Dragon Press

Editor’s Note: Muriel Rowley is a staff member of thee Foothill Dragon Press. She was not involved in the reporting or publishing of this article.

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Girls’ soccer falls short in a 1-0 loss against the Cardinals