This past Thursday, the girls varsity soccer team took on the Sequoia Ravens. The game was even and full of passion as both teams are currently battling for first place in the league.
Bears Head Coach Jason Luce said, “A key part of our strategy was a high-press, because under pressure is when defenders make mistakes.” This strategy proved successful, since within a minute of the Ravens’ kick-off sophomore Alessia Bolaños had already won M-A a corner. Everyone was in awe as junior Avery Galles headed the ball out to the top of the box. There, junior Camille Melcher took a strike, which looked like it would give the Bears an early lead, but sadly went a couple inches wide of the goal.
Both teams played lots of long balls and launched attacks constantly. The Bears tried to feed the ball through their left wing but the Raven defense shut them down.
The Bears dominated with their goal attempts. The key to the teams success was their high press and ability to play through balls. The real battle was in the midfield where back-and-forth fouls were exchanged between Bolaños and a few of the Sequoia defenders.
Galles shut down a Raven goal attempt late in the first half, perfectly timing her step to the ball when she had nobody behind her to help. Junior Georgia Auerbach later stated, “I think our defense played really well and we locked it down.”
Despite the constant M-A pressure, the Ravens almost stole a goal off of a corner kick if it weren’t for Bears senior goalkeeper Gigi Edwards who made the initial save, and then recovered for the rebound shot to keep the game at 0-0.
M-A responded by putting pressure on the Raven defense, as they attempted to possess the ball, which led to a mistake. Seniors Jimena Sandoval and Kate Nelson hit a one-two combination pass that resulted in a one on one between Nelson and the Sequoia goalkeeper. However, Nelson slowed the play down and waited for support so the Bears could keep possession of the ball and launch a stronger attack. Junior Valeria Latu-Nava said, “I thought we played really well. We kept fighting and it was really a good game. We just need to finish our chances, especially against really good teams, like Sequoia.”
The second half started with a Bear kick-off. The Bears’ game plan going into the second half was to settle for five minutes and then “risk” by placing two strikers up top. Their “risk” strategy worked, as there was a plethora of Bear attacks during the first 20 minutes of the first half. The Bears were clearly hungry for a goal, and freshman Samantha Ruiz, senior Susie Wagstaff, and Bolaños each took more than five shots.
The crowd got excited, with one person starting a “Let’s go Bears” chant and many others joining in.
However the Ravens defense held strong, and they responded by dribbling past the whole M-A midfield and taking a shot from the top of the box, but Edwards saved it with ease. Edwards said, “Defense did really well to shut down all the good players and we were able to stop them every single time. We are getting 0s and it is up to the offense now.”
With less than ten minutes left, it was clear that both teams were getting antsy for a winning goal. Latu-Nava juked out her defender and took a strong shot but the Raven goalie was on top of it and made a beautiful save.
The Ravens responded with a dangerous counterattack in which one of their attackers got fed through the left wide and took a strike, which was a couple inches off frame. With two minutes left, M-A started playing an even higher line. It was clear that Sequoia was playing for a tie as they just kept clearing the ball instead of keeping it in their possession.
The game, though very exciting, ended in a 0-0 tie.
Junior Tatum Olesen said, “I think we played well and came together very well as a team. I just think the last thing we need to do is practice finishing, but we connected really well, so hopefully the finishing will come together in our next games.”
Latu-Nava said, “Point blank, I want to win CCS this year.” Her teammates nodded in agreement.