The West Ranch girls soccer team faced off against Valencia on Tuesday, using a complete team effort to secure a 3-0 victory on its home field.
The Wildcats were the early aggressors, attacking Valencia’s defense and goalkeeper Noelle Amey often, though she was able to make some big saves.
West Ranch finally broke through in the 31st minute, as sophomore defender Kennedy Desser found the back corner of the net after a couple of deflections off a corner kick from Cassidy Imperial-Pham.
“It was a good momentum builder. We didn’t start out well and it really boosted us forward to score the next goals in the second half,” Desser said.
Before the first half concluded, Valencia had an opportunity to tie the game as West Ranch was called for a foul in its own box, giving the Vikings a penalty kick.
However, junior goalkeeper Hannah Everitt came up with a clutch stop, maintaining West Ranch’s 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
“I was just so excited because like nine out of 10 times they make those,” Everitt said. “It was a huge save. I knew I had to get it otherwise we wouldn’t have had the momentum.”
“It’s a massive deal to make that save for our whole back line psyche. We’ve been waiting for that moment from her,” West Ranch head coach Jared White said about Everitt. “She’s been really solid but that one moment, for her it feels like ‘I’ve arrived.’ I think that was her moment and I think that’s going to give her some good confidence moving forward.
The Wildcats used that momentum to their advantage and kept on attacking in the second half.
The aggression paid off once again, as sophomore defensive midfielder Leanna Kane found herself squaring up for a free kick from about 35 yards outside the box after a Valencia foul.
Kane delivered a booming strike, sailing the ball over Amey’s head and into the back of the net.
“I have made those before, but not in a while. I just felt like I had to score and I did,” Kane said with a smile. “It was really important because it kind of hyped everyone. We got another goal and it got everyone excited.”
“She missed a few early on this season that were kind of from that distance and you can tell she’s pretty close, so we wanted to give her that chance and she struck a perfect ball,” White added. “Not many keepers are going to get that one. It was hit with pace up above the hands of the keeper and it was just a quality strike.”
Valencia head coach Kevin Goralsky believes missing the penalty kick was a key moment in the game, and his team struggled to hang in after the deflating miss.
“I think the turning point was missing the PK right before halftime,” Goralsky said. “You go into halftime 1-1 rather than 1-0. I think that was the difference today.”
The Wildcats defense led by Desser, freshman Summer Hahn and seniors Kaylani Miranda and Sydney Marbach were suffocating throughout the game.
They were able to hold Valencia to only one shot attempt in the second half.
“All of them work so hard and are so good at keeping me protected,” Everitt said. “I barely had any touches and that’s what a keeper dreams of.”
The Wildcats scored one more goal in the closing moments of the game, as sophomore forward Lizeth Gutierrez broke through Valencia’s defense and fired a shot into the back of the net.
West Ranch will play Highland on Wednesday before continuing league play on Friday against Hart. Valencia will face Golden Valley on Friday.
Hart 3, Canyon 1
The Indians notched their third league win a row, defeating Canyon on the road.
Alyssa Irwin opened up the scoring for Hart off an assist from Stefani Woll. Caitlin “Patti” Piper scored Hart’s second goal and Ali Thompson rounded out the scoring for the Indians.
Saugus 7, Golden Valley 1
The Centurions won their third game in a row and moved to 2-0-1 in league with Tuesday nights win.
Aubrey Finicle, Shaina Berdin, Brooke Chambers, Kaytlin Russell and Sofia Rubio all scored for the Cents and Jazmine Flores added two goals.
SCCS 3, Desert Christian 0
The SCCS girls soccer team won its fourth game in its last five contests, defeating Desert on Tuesday.
The Cardinals scored all three goals in the first half with Sydney Boswell, Ashley Rens and Siloam Brenner all scoring. Boswell added an assist as did Nina Ridenour.