West Ranch girls soccer’s midfield key to success

West Ranch's Rheanna Patterson (15) tries to steal the ball from Valencia's Alexa Trujillo (14) during a soccer game at Valencia on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Katharine Lotze/Signal

West Ranch High girls soccer’s midfielders have shown impeccable timing this season during the team’s run to a fourth straight playoff appearance — not only with their passing ability on the field, but also with their knack for stepping up at the right moment.

On Feb. 3, West Ranch played Hart High. Starting defenders Emilie Cisneros and Alyssa Lopez had limited minutes because of ankle injuries and usual starting defender Abby Ashlock was out completely due to a red card issued in the previous game.

The midfield was going to have its hands full.

The Wildcats lost the game 2-1, but they also learned the value of their middle third, which went on to be a major part of the team in the latter part of the season.

“It’s super important that we’re on our game in the midfield,” Patterson said. “Every little touch counts, and we have to pay attention to the details so that we don’t slip and leave it on defenders that may not play in our starting line, that may be a fill-in.”

The midfield has been sturdy throughout the season, but has had an increased role in the latter part of league due to defensive injuries.

Two defenders currently have minor injuries and have been eased back into games leading up to Wednesday when they’ll get a full workout.

“Right now it’s just about managing it and making sure we don’t go backwards and we continue to get as close to 100 percent as possible,” said coach Jared White.

The Wildcats have up to six players that can play midfield, which includes starters Pela Lorenzo at center mid, Ali Spare at attacking mid and Patterson. Amanda Tarello, Danielle Lium and Julia Watler are options to bring off the bench.

“We have our three starters and then we bring in about three more off the bench … to give teams a different look,” White said. “Each kid has a different skill set they bring so it’s mine and the coaching staff’s job to find that right group for a long amount of minutes or on the short term for five to ten.”

With a 5-2 win over Canyon and a 3-1 win over Golden Valley to close out the league season, White said his team – specifically the offense – is peaking at the right time.

Forward Erin Meottel has 11 goals and seven assists, while Aliyah Satterfield tops the team with 17 goals and nine assists.

Both of them also have chemistry with the midfielders.

“They’re starting to understand the spacing a little bit better and understand the timing of the runs, which is really important,” said White.

“So when the midfield is trusting that the forwards are making the right run and the forwards are trusting that they’re going to give it to them at the right time, we’re pretty dangerous.”

West Ranch hosts Agoura on Thursday at 3 p.m. in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.

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