Valencia Vikings girls’ soccer picked up its second win of the year in a nail-biting win over the visiting Castaic Coyotes on Tuesday night.
Valencia bested Castaic, 1-0, in a cold and windy match, after previously losing 4-1 to the Coyotes earlier this season.
Vikings junior Sofie Rooney stormed up the field on a quick counter and scored the golden goal in the 66th minute on a perfectly placed feed from Ameila Haydamack.
“It was exciting to get the lead,” Rooney said. “After I scored, I focused on keeping the lead and as a captain, I tried to keep our team focused.”
Castaic (6-7-4, 3-4-1) started developing more chances midway through the half and took nearly a dozen corner kicks, but Vikings keeper Rebecca Ferguson was there to stop any would-be scores.
The sophomore goalie tallied up nine saves in quite the performance in just her second varsity game.
The Coyotes threatened to score constantly thanks to aggressive play at midfield to keep the ball in Viking territory.
Ferguson and the Valencia (2-8-1, 2-5-1) backline were tested but stood tall to deliver the team’s second shutout and win of the season. The performance was a much-needed one for Vikings head coach Brian Miller.
“We’ve worked a lot on our defense being a bit more solid,” Miller said. “So that helped and I think the girls did step it up a little bit. They weren’t second to the ball like they were in that first game. We were first to a lot of balls. We passed the well. We looked like a different team.”
The Coyotes had a handful of plays in the second half where the team took consecutive corner kicks after the Vikings batted a shot out of bounds. Most of the corners were right on target in the midst of the pack. The Vikings either got to the volley first or made a deflection to stop every attack.
Castaic ramped up the pressure throughout the second half but Rooney was just quick enough to net the game-winner on a counter while draped in defenders.
The Coyotes have now been shut out in four league matches this year but are on track to make the playoffs.
Valencia has had a rocky season but remains alive in the playoff hunt after Tuesday’s win.
“You find out about yourselves and the people that are on your team, how special they are when you’re losing,” Miller said. “When you’re winning, it’s easy, everybody’s happy. When you lose, and we’ve lost quite a few games this year, you really find out what a good group of people you’re around and how hard they’re willing to work to get over that rather than to give up.”
Castaic will take the rest of the week off before a home match with Hart on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. The Vikings return to the pitch Thursday for round two with West Ranch. The two drew 2-2 in their previous matchup and Valencia needs a win to jump up in the standings.
“We’ll think about the next game against West Ranch here and we’ll see how it goes,” Miller said. “That’s all you can do when you seem to be going up and down like we are. Let’s focus on the next game and see what we can do there. See if we can play the same way we did tonight.”
Valencia hosts the Wildcats Thursday at 6:30 p.m.