By GERARDO RECINOS
The Lady Bulldogs varsity soccer team got a small bit of revenge for their playoff exits with a 2-1 win over the Miramonte Matadors on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
Off the back of some less than thrilling results for the side, coach Ed Marinelli praised his girls for their tenacity and ability to execute their game plan.
As well as capitalizing on some good fortune.
“This has been a rivalry game ever since I’ve been at Alhambra,” Marinelli said. “We haven’t been playing our best, and hopefully this puts us back on track.”
The Matadors came out hot, as they were bossing the midfield in the opening ten minutes. Miramonte senior Gina Crosetti was pulling the strings in the midfield and looked to be in total control.
Marinelli said after the game they intended to test the Miramonte keeper. So when they won a corner from a routine free kick and she didn’t handle quickly, they pounced.
Senior Kayla Porche’s corner was cleared on as far as freshman Sam Pearson. The young midfielder settled the ball before smashing it in to the far post from outside the 18-yard box for her first goal as a Bulldog.
“She [Pearson] is extremely intelligent, wins most of the balls in the middle of the field, and makes the right first step every single time,” Marinelli said of his freshman midfielder.
Miramonte struck back almost instantly after a mad scramble in front of goal in the 14th minute. Twice the Bulldogs nearly cleared the ball. The first time captain Lexy Swenson mis-hit her clearance, and then a block by junior Lindsey Alford unluckily fell to the nearest Miramonte player.
Without hesitation senior defender Meagan Casey fired her shot into the top corner where Alhambra keeper Nicki Rucki could do nothing about it.
The Bulldogs steadied their defense after conceding, and even became more creative on the ball despite having to shift one of their play makers, captain Sarah Emigh, to center half after a recent injury to Adriana Saroni.The Bulldogs nearly took the lead in the 38th minute after a free kick taken by Rucki was turned in by Swenson after a skirmish in front of goal. However the referee judged that the Miramonte keeper had been fouled.
In the second half did a better job of marking Crosetti and not allowing her to be creative in the middle of the park. Sophomore Carly Agostino gave the senior very little time on the ball without hounding her.
That change in tactics stunted the Miramonte attack, which had been running through Crosetti until that point.
That allowed Alhambra to take the game wide, and in particular gave Porche a lot of freedom to run down the wing. Porche was unable to pick out the final pass but gave the Matador full backs plenty of trouble with her ability to stretch the field.
In the 65th minute Alhambra nearly put themselves behind but a strong last ditch tackle by Alford allowed Alhambra to clear their lines.
A save by Rucki from a long free kick also sprung a counter attack that eventually led to the Bulldogs second goal.
The counter attack won the Bulldogs a throw inside Miramonte’s final third, and Swenson’s long throw was turned in by Miramonte junior Morgan Johnson.
The Matador defender looked stunned, as did her teammates, who believed they had done enough to earn a result from the match.
They nearly still did after the referee inexplicably stopped play in the 78th minute rather than allowing the advantage when a flicked header by junior Julia Perez found sophomore Marlo Allen.
Allen was in on goal but was waved back, and the Matadors resulting possession they agonizingly struck the woodwork before the game was whistled dead and Alhambra was safe.