Saturday, November 12, 2011

Girls Soccer Championship

Jaguars late surge defeats CCS Bulldogs

By David Boldt 

      The SCCS girls soccer team won the Friendship Games championship by defeating the CCS Bulldogs 5-2 in a game that was much closer than the final score might indicate. The teams were tied at 2-2 well into the second half, and the Jaguars didn't have the game fully under control until the final minutes.
       The victory would hinge on an amazing three-goal perfoirmance by Tania Landivar, who had been limping from a strained ankle the night before.
       The two teams had played one another in the last game the previous afternoon in a contentious contest that had been action-filled and some of those on hand probably expected the two teams to start back in where they left off.
     However, in the opening phase of the game both teams seemed to be playing tentatively, more afraid of making a fatal mistake than going for the risky strike. Fatigue may also have been a factor, as several players misfired when trying to redirect a moving ball. 
     The Jaguars finally moved the ball down into the area in front of the right side of the Bulldog goal, with several players kicking at it. Fernanda Vaca Diez finally tapped it out of the contending group, and it rolled slowly across the goal mouth and into the left side of the net, making the score 1-0 for the Jaguars.
     The next several minutes saw trhe resumption of the indecisive action that had marked the opening of the game. The excitement came on a couple of free kicks awarded to the Bulldogs on inadvertent handball fouls, and a Jaguar corner kick that ended up being popped over the goal. 
     The second SCCS score came when a kick by Jaguar goalie came bouncing down toward the Bulldog goal. Landivar battled a Bulldog defender for the ball and managed to bounce it to teammate Ana Rivera, who knocked it in. 
     This seemed to energize the Bulldogs. Aimee Torrico took the ball from the ensuing kickoff and headed down the right side of the field like a fast, sturdy halfback making an end around sweep in American football.
   She swooped in toward the goal much as she had in scoring CCS' goal the previous afternoon, but this time she unleashed a crossing pass to teammate Melissa Ford on the left side of the goal. Ford head the ball into the net, cutting the Jaguar lead to 2-1, which is where the score stood as the half ended.
      If there was a dark and ominous time for the Jaguars it was at the start of the second half, when the momentum seemed to have switched to the Bulldogs, who got off several near misses while the Santa Cruz team  found itself having unfamilar difficulty getting the ball out of its end. The Bulldogs just kept popping it back in, and finally Ford scored, tying the game at 2-2.
      But the Jaguars retaliated rapidly with Landivar runningb the ball through the CCS defense and making it 3-2 for the Jaguars.
      The Jaguars were then able to capitalize on a Bulldog error. On a throw-in by the Jaguars the defender missed the ball on her attempt to clear the ball, allowing it to come to Landivar, who booted it into the upper corner of the goal.
       The Jaguar star junior forward got her hat trick and the Jaguars fourth goal when Jaguar goalie Aguilera gott off a long, high punt straight down the field toward the Bulldog goal. Landivar outraced two CCS defenders and was going at full stride as the ball came down, bounced off Landivar's forehead, over the goalie and into the goal.  
        The Jaguars almost added a sixth goal on a very similar play just before the end of the game, but this time the Bulldog goalie bravely charged out and snared the ball, just as the onrushing Landivar fell over her, followed by Vaca Diez, who was close behind. The referee held up a red card, but initially it was unclear which player he was throwing out of the game and why. It turned out to be Vaca Diez, evidently for what in American football is termed "piling on.". 
       But it was too late to matter much as only a minute or so later the whistle blew endng the game. 
       The Bulldogs might take some comfort in knowing that only one other team this season had scored twice on the Jaguars, who shut out most of their opponents.