In the process of building a program, each game, each victory, has its own meaning. For the Christopher High girls varsity soccer team, Tuesday’s matchup with North Monterey County was its first “big” game – a battle between two teams undefeated in Monterey Bay League play through three tilts.
The Cougars looked as if they had been there before.
Paulina Llamas’ nifty footwork cleared enough room for her to get a shot off from about 12 yards away. The freshman didn’t miss from there.
Llamas shook her defender with a 180-degree spin, waited for the goalie to commit left, her shot went right and into the back of the net for a goal that stood as the game winner as the Cougars (7-4 overall, 4-0 MBL) ousted North Monterey County 1-0 to gain sole possession of first place in the MBL.
“We’ve been preparing for this game since last week really,” CHS head coach Janae Pimentel said. “I’m really happy with how we played. We took lots of shots and passed like we planned. I wish we would have capitalized on a few more of our opportunities.”
Llamas’ goal came in the 25th minute. For the next 55 minutes, spanning the end of the first half and the entire second half, the defense – led by Evangalina Loredo, Alondra Villanueva, Carly McPolin, Chelsea Luciani and Gina Rodriguez – and goalie Lauren Ginn kept the shut out in tact while the offense applied enough pressure forward to maintain a possession edge.
“Everything is clicking together right now,” Pimentel said. “We had a really tough preseason, but it taught us a lot and got us ready for league. Those games helped us in terms of us knowing what to do against good teams like this.”
Ginn made four saves in the game, the most significant of which came two minutes before halftime. The sophomore shifted to her right to cut off the angle taken by Condors’ (4-5 overall, 3-1 MBL) speedy forward Janeth Vega. Slipping down, she tossed up her left arm and slapped away the point-blank shot.
The Cougars had three shots graze either the cross bar or posts and forward Jasmine Contreras, who has five goals this season, had one called back early in the first half. Contreras, often sent in by Cailin McCarry, took nine shots. Jamie Lanz, bloodied left knee an all, put five shots on, and Emma Morley three.
Another big game awaits CHS as it travels to Watsonville High to face the defending league champion Wildcatz (3-5-2 overall, 3-1 MBL) on Thursday night.