It was an offensive onslaught at College of the Canyons on Tuesday afternoon, as the women’s soccer team took an early lead against Allan Hancock College and never let up, winning 8-0.
Freshman midfielder and Valencia alumna Gracell Magnaye took advantage of a Bulldogs mishap in the 13th minute, intercepting a pass from the goalkeeper and quickly striking to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead that continued to grow.
About eight minutes later, freshman forward Corina Sagato gave the Cougars their second goal of the game, heading in a corner kick delivered by midfielder Crystal Sanchez.
“It was a really good kick from the corner, so more credit to the kick,” Sagato said. “But it did hype me up to score again and help my team score goals and to keep our composure throughout the game. That’s the game changer, when we focus more on playing as team not as individuals.”
Less than five minutes later Sagato scored her second goal, as she dribbled through multiple Bulldogs defenders and buried the ball in the right corner of the net, giving the Cougars a 3-0 lead.
Sanchez, along with sophomores Alondra Solis and Alexa Thornblad, did well to control the middle of the pitch, falling back on defense when necessary and pushing the offensive tempo whenever possible.
“Those three in the middle are very smart. They read the game very well and it makes it easy for us in games like this to control the tempo and keep possession of the ball,” Canyons head coach Justin Lundin said. “They have really good vision and are very technical. It helps a lot.”
Having an aggressive midfield makes life easier for strikers like Sagato and Tyler Smith. Sanchez, Solis, Thornblad, Magnaye and the other COC midfielders were able to set up their teammates up front for most of the afternoon.
“They do most of the work, I’m just like the cherry on the top,” Sagato said. “I give more credit to the people that assist my goals because they get the ball to me better than I give the ball to them. I definitely appreciate that as an attacking striker.”
In addition to scoring two goals, Sanchez also had an assist, while Solis added two goals and assisted Sanchez on both of her goals.
Solis believes that the rapport between herself and Sanchez has been building since last season and will only continue to get better.
“We have a chemistry especially from last year, starting with Crystal in the middle,” Solis said. “I feel like we’re working really hard. We’re slowly getting the hang of it, working as a team, making our plays in the middle.”
On the rare occasions when the Bulldogs were able to drive past midfield, the Cougars defense was all over them, swarming to the ball and giving them little room to operate.
Allan Hancock (1-7-2) only had three shots total the entire game, compared to 29 for Canyons. The Bulldogs had one corner kick and the Cougars (3-6-1) had five.
“We’ve been working a lot on the defensive side of the ball trying to minimize their opportunities,” Lundin said. “They’ve been working really hard. They were organized today and did a good job.”
Midfielder Kathleen Volpei, a Saugus graduate, is the other Cougar who scored on Tuesday, as she started off the second half with a goal that gave Canyons a 4-0 lead at the time.
Canyons will have a week off before its next contest on Tuesday, Oct. 9 against Antelope Valley in the first conference game of the season. Kick off begins at 4. p.m.