The West Ranch girls soccer team shook off some nerves in the early going to defeat Canyon 1-0 in the first league game of the season.
Junior Amanda Baumgartner scored the lone goal in the 24th minute, rebounding a missed shot to find the back of the net.
On the scoring play, freshman Summer Hahn intercepted a pass and found Allyson Snyder who took a shot from distance. Canyon’s goalkeeper Aubrey McKessy was able to punch it out, but it went to West Ranch’s other starting freshman Cassidy Imperial-Pham who took another shot.
The ball deflected off a Canyon defender, but Baumgartner was in front of the net at the right time to score.
“My teammates work so hard to get the ball I knew I had to be there if it popped out and it was my job to get it in,” Baumgartner said. “My teammates were fighting for every ball so I knew I had to be there if I had the chance to score.”
Canyon came out as the early aggressors, firing several shots in the first 10 minutes, but couldn’t slip one past West Ranch goalkeeper Hannah Everitt.
Cowboys head coach Derek Rusk was pleased with the way his team kept fighting throughout the contest, despite going down a goal in the first half.
“The season is really fresh, the girls are still trying to find the right chemistry and groove, but the one thing that is consistent is that they aren’t going to give up and continue to work hard,” Rusk said.
West Ranch had another opportunity to score in the second half, as sophomore forward Lizeth Gutierrez got past Canyon’s defense and made a run toward the goal.
Gutierrez was fouled hard in the box, resulting in a penalty kick.
“She’s got deceptive quickness, she’s great around the box and at anticipating bounces and spins and finds the right space to run into,” West Ranch head coach Jared White said about Gutierrez. “She has such great balance you can’t knock her off.”
Senior Kaylani Miranda took the penalty kick, but the shot went left of the goal post, keeping the score at 1-0.
Miranda was frustrated that she missed, but White and her teammates encouraged her to keep playing her game and shake it off.
“Kaylani, she is so experienced and a leader on this team,” White said. “After the whistle you can see it on her face because she’s so competitive. She compartmentalized it and kept playing her game. She’s so important for us.”
Canyon kept fighting, pushing on offense toward the end of the game. They garnered two corner kicks after having zero in the first half.
“Give credit to Canyon. They hung in there and battled all the way through,” White said. “I think we played well and dictated our style for the majority of the game, but we need to do it over 80 minutes and not 50, so we’ll work on it.”
“I think we gave them an early Christmas present, but we get to see them again in early January,” Rusk said.
Hart 9, Golden Valley 0
Sarah Melvin scored four goals and Alyssa Irwin and Ally Thompson had two goals apiece in the league opener for Hart against Golden Valley. Delaney Schamber scored the other goal for Hart.
Saugus 2, Valencia 2
Saugus’ Jazmine Flores scored on a corner kick from Kaelyn Viger to put the Cents up early before Valencia answered on a corner kick. Kaytlin Russell scored Saugus’ second goal in the 52nd minute.