By LUKE JOHNSON
Special to the Tribune
Freshman forward Sasha Sadoff cut from the right to the center of the field, broke two defenders in the box, and tapped the ball past the keeper for what would be the game-deciding goal with 10 minutes left in Acalanes High School’s 3-2 victory against host Alhambra in a Diablo Foothill Athletic League girls’ soccer match.
“I saw the open gaps, and everybody running one way, so I knew I could shift them the other way. … And I saw that it was wide, so I knew I could dribble around them really quickly,” Sadoff said.
The Dons (5-0-2) remain undefeated through seven matches, while the Bulldogs (8-2-1) suffer their second defeat of the season – both coming a week apart.
“We try to create a lot in the attack, and stay solid in the back. Our expectations, our hopes and our goals are to win the [NCS] Championship,” Acalanes coach Evan Sassano said.
The Dons kicked off the match at a fast pace, and were up 2-0 at halftime with a shot on goal differential of 9-3 in their favor.
Twenty-three minutes into the first period, sophomore midfielder Emily Smith found fellow sophomore forward Kierra Krawec, who broke free and was able to strike from about 20 yards out.
“[They are] very dynamic players. Both girls that scored are of a very high level. Good technically, tremendous speed and they know the position well,” Sassano said.
Down at the half, Alhambra coach Ed Marinelli said he did not need to say much to his team, because the players already knew of their mistakes and took the initiative to improve the game plan.
“It didn’t take me as a coach to call them out. They called each other out during the half at intermission, and they decided, ‘Hey, we’re not playing our type of soccer. We’re not playing with enough intensity. We’re not playing with enough enthusiasm or desire,’ and they came out in the second half and made a difference,” Marinelli said.
With a new attitude, Alhambra was firing on all cylinders in the second half, and lit up the scoreboard in less than a minute.
Sophomore midfielder Carly Agostino shot a blooper from 30 yards out, it tipped off the goalie’s gloves, bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net.
“The goalkeeper was short, and we told her – Carly, specifically because she’s an attacking mid – we told her to go ahead and just take a shot. If you have two yards in front of you, take a shot,” assistant coach Matt Marinelli said.
Alhambra outshot its opponent 9-6 in the second half, but it was too little too late, as enough damage had already been done.