Sam Pearson – Martinez Tribune https://martineztribune.com The website of the Martinez Tribune. Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:02:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 Alhambra win sets up Las Lomas trilogy https://martineztribune.com/2017/02/17/alhambra-win-sets-up-las-lomas-trilogy/ Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:00:59 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6590 By GERARDO RECINOS Martinez Tribune When the Bulldog girls get home after their hard fought win on Wednesday night, they’ll settle in and see that their prize for a comprehensive victory is a second-round match up against Las Lomas. That’s what their 2-0 win over Novato buys you in the North Coast Section playoffs, a …

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Alhambra junior Jenna Coffman (22) and the rest of the Bulldog defense held resolute and kept the Novato Hornets off the score board in their 2-0 win in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs on Feb. 15, 2017. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra junior Jenna Coffman (22) and the rest of the Bulldog defense held resolute and kept the Novato Hornets off the score board in their 2-0 win in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs on Feb. 15, 2017. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)

By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

When the Bulldog girls get home after their hard fought win on Wednesday night, they’ll settle in and see that their prize for a comprehensive victory is a second-round match up against Las Lomas.

That’s what their 2-0 win over Novato buys you in the North Coast Section playoffs, a date with the team that you haven’t beaten since Feb. 6. Of 2015.

Not that the girls seem to mind at all. They relish it.

They know the line, and surely they know the that they’re winless in the last five match ups.

But this team is settling in. For one the defense has only conceded twice in the last four games, and the back line steadied the ship after shaky opening 20 minutes against Novato.

The visiting Hornets however couldn’t take advantage of a disconnected Alhambra side. Everything seemed just a hair off. Sophomore midfielder Erin Brown was getting all the time she wanted on the ball. However after some adjustments made tactically, the Bulldogs’ Sam Pearson had Brown in her pocket for the rest of the match.

And once the threat going forward was quelled, the Bulldogs finally started to match up on the same wave length with one another.

The first solid move came from a cheeky bit of link up play between two of the captains, Sarah Emigh and Lindsey Alford.

It wasn’t until the 36th minute however that they got the result.

Junior varsity call up Maggie Avila was substituted to take a long throw, however when it was cleared out of the 18-yard box, the sophomore had a pop. Her first-time curling effort rattled in off the cross bar, stunning nearly everyone watching. Appropriately she was subbed off seconds later, and was mobbed by her teammates.

That set the Bulldogs off.

In the 38th minute they nearly doubled their lead on a free kick to the far post, but the resulting header was wide of the mark.

After nearly being counter attacked, the Bulldogs nearly scored again seconds later. Alford slid a  perfect through ball into the path of junior Marlo Allen. However the forward was met with a rushing goalkeeper and was thwarted just outside the box.

The goal was looming. For all their possession in the Novato half, the Bulldogs were starting to get antsy. It was clear that if they didn’t grab a second, they could be sent home early, like they were last season.

In full control, the midfield trident of Carly Agostino, Emigh and Pearson was controlling the game. While coach Ed Marinelli opted to have a rotating line up front.

And it paid off. Only two minutes after coming onto the pitch, Jaycee Armosino nearly created a goal from thin air. The junior fizzed in a cross to the back post but Alford’s connection let her down and she skied her shot.

That chance left the Bulldogs wanting, but it wasn’t until the 77th minute that the Bulldogs could finally relax and know they’d be moving on.

Agostino did well to win a free kick just outside the box. Emigh drove her spot kick towards the far post where it was headed in by Pearson to calm Alhambra hearts.

With the goal the sophomore cemented what was one of her best performances all season, and helped punch the Bulldogs’ ticket into the next round.

In the next round, the Bulldogs will visit Las Lomas, the team that came in first place in the Diablo Athletic League. The Knights only dropped points once all season, and are lead by goal-scorer Haley Brown.

The Cal-State Fullerton commit has found the back of the net 22 times this season. In the teams’ two meetings this season (a 1-0 win at Alhambra, and a 3-0 win at Las Lomas) Brown has two goals. Both came in the 3-0 win on Jan. 27.

The Knights and Bulldogs will do battle on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Las Lomas at 7 p.m.

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Alhambra girls stunned by Matadors https://martineztribune.com/2017/02/10/alhambra-girls-stunned-by-matadors/ Fri, 10 Feb 2017 18:15:01 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6545 By GERARDO RECINOS Martinez Tribune Both teams looked like they fielded two different sets of 11 in the first and second halves of the Bulldogs 1-0 loss to Miramonte on Friday night. Each team had their more productive half in the thrilling Feb. 3 contest, but it was the Matadors who took their chances with …

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Alhambra junior Sophia Olson (right) looks to go around her defender in the Bulldogs’ 1-0 loss to Miramonte on Feb. 3, 2017. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra junior Sophia Olson (right) looks to go around her defender in the Bulldogs’ 1-0 loss to Miramonte on Feb. 3, 2017. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)

By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

Both teams looked like they fielded two different sets of 11 in the first and second halves of the Bulldogs 1-0 loss to Miramonte on Friday night.

Each team had their more productive half in the thrilling Feb. 3 contest, but it was the Matadors who took their chances with an early goal at the start of the second half.

But they did what Alhambra couldn’t do.

Make no mistake the Matadors put some shots on frame in the early stages of the match, but nothing that truly troubled Alhambra goalkeeper Nicki Rucki.

The Alhambra shot-stopper was equal to the three attempts on frame she was forced to deal with in the first half.

However after a rocky opening 20 minutes for both sides, as play started to settle in, the Bulldogs looked more in control.

With some adjustments being made in the lineup, the Bulldogs seemed more inclined to play down the middle of the pitch, rather than trying to stretch Miramonte out wide.

Even so, they pressed high up the field with energy and forced the Matadors to lose possession on multiple occasions. Substitute Sophia Olson in particular put in a shift chasing around any ball from the back, forcing the Miramonte backline to be on alert when they picked up their heads to play a pass.

Alhambra could not take advantage of the surplus in possession, however. Having Sarah Emigh play in defense stifled their creativity a bit, but there were a few instances where the Lady Dogs seemed just off kilter.

In the 28th minute Carly Agostino slipped in fellow junior Marissa D’Atri down the left touchline. The winger’s cross was only cleared as far as full back Chakeira Cox, but her teasing ball into the box was also cleared wide by Miramonte.

Not long after sophomore midfielder Sam Pearson took a shot from 25 yards out, but didn’t put enough pace in the ball to truly test the Miramonte keeper.

Not even a minute later the Bulldogs were hard done by a decision by an official, and were once again denied a chance for their goal.

Junior Julia Perez was hacked down in the 18-yard box, but the referee denied claims for a penalty and waved play on.

Agonizingly the Bulldogs couldn’t nick their goal, and in soccer when you can’t capitalize on your chances, you can bet your opponent will.

Even worse, they did it in way less time.

Having had to defend for the better part of 25 minutes in the first half, the Matadors didn’t spoil the fast-paced start after the break.

They fired a warning shot in the 42nd minute, when sophomore Siena Thomas’ shot went just wide.

A minute later they scored.

A smart ball down the right touchline found senior Samantha Devecchi. She fizzed in a cross with some pace on it that was finished off by a brilliant diving-headed effort by fellow captain and senior Mia Grillo.

The goal came with the Matadors threatening to score from the whistle, but Grillo’s run was well-timed, and the finish cultured. Nothing was going to stop it.

The same couldn’t be said of the chances the Bulldogs created in the second half. And that all came down to Miramonte keeper , who made 11 saves on the night.

Even when the official made a poor call and incorrectly ruled that Goodman had picked up a back pass. The resulting indirect free kick was cleared easily.

For the rest of the match it seemed as if the Lady Dogs were just missing the final piece of the puzzle.

They had some bright spots in link up play, but the end product was always missing.

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Bulldog girls shutout College Park 2-0 https://martineztribune.com/2017/01/27/bulldog-girls-shutout-college-park-2-0/ Fri, 27 Jan 2017 18:38:14 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6428 By GERARDO RECINOS Martinez Tribune An early penalty and a late second goal propelled the Lady Bulldog soccer team to victory on Wednesday night against the rival College Park Falcons. The 2-0 win on Jan. 25 was quite convincing from the Bulldog girls. Alhambra took some time to settle into the match, with a larger …

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Alhambra freshman Chloe Taylor clears a ball from the Bulldog defense in the Bulldogs’ 2-0 win over the College Park Falcons on Jan. 25, 2017. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra freshman Chloe Taylor clears a ball from the Bulldog defense in the Bulldogs’ 2-0 win over the College Park Falcons on Jan. 25, 2017. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)

By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

An early penalty and a late second goal propelled the Lady Bulldog soccer team to victory on Wednesday night against the rival College Park Falcons.

The 2-0 win on Jan. 25 was quite convincing from the Bulldog girls. Alhambra took some time to settle into the match, with a larger than usual crowd watching, but for the most part kept the Falcons at bay until they could take control.

In fact it was the Falcons that first tested the opposing keeper. It was barely a half chance, but still Nicki Rucki was forced to come out and meet a cross that flashed in front of goal. College Park also took a pair of corners in the opening 10 minutes, but neither troubled the Alhambra defense.

It wasn’t until the 22nd minute that anything really started coming off for the Bulldogs.

Junior Marlo Allen was brought down in the box, and Rucki converted from the spot. The senior keeper put her penalty past her opposite number with power, rather than deception. So even though the keeper guessed correctly, she couldn’t get a glove to the spot-kick.

Rucki was tested after the goal however, and in the 29th minute was twice called upon to make a save. The first was a shot on goal, and the second was when she was forced out of her box to play a sweeper role. She was able to clear her lines on both College Park chances.

As the game progressed, the physicality started showing from both teams. Before brandishing a flurry of yellow cards, the referee had done his best to avoid disciplining the girls. However as players continued leaving trailing legs in challenges, and balls in the air became more contested, he was forced to act.

However the reaction from the Alhambra defenders was admirable. Freshman center back Chloe Taylor put in such a good shift alongside Jenna Coffman, she started getting her name chanted.

Taylor and Sam Pearson, a sophomore, both made themselves a nuisance, constantly intercepting passes and sparking the attack. With the three girls playing so resolute, senior Sarah Emigh was able to roam box-to-box, as was junior Carly Agostino.

Agonizingly the Bulldogs couldn’t muster a second goal to really start to piling the pressure on the Falcons. For nearly 80 minutes, the Falcons believed they could still get something from the match.

However as far as the first half went, only a skied volley attempt inside the box by junior Jasmine Safarians even came close. And that shot was well wide.

Just a few minutes after the break, the Bulldogs nearly caught College Park napping.

Junior Jaycee Armosino fizzed a low cross to the back post, but senior Lindsey Alford’s run was just a fraction late. It seemed no matter how much they created, they couldn’t finish their dinner.

Not taking their chances nearly cost Alhambra.

In the 54th minute, Marianna Giovanetti was in on goal with nothing but an empty net to aim at, as Rucki had come to clear a ball into the box, but overplayed it. Giovannetti however was unable to keep her composure, and fired her shot into the side netting.

A pair of substitutes made the Falcons pay.

With fresh legs, Sophia Olson started stretching the back line of the Falcons, who started watching her runs, so as to not be beat by the junior’s pace. That allowed right back Katie Christman to shake off a pair of defenders on a mazy run before sliding a ball out wide to Olson.

Olson’s cross met the feet of Alford, whose run was made with enough timing to beat the Falcon keeper, despite being directly at her.

The goal was like a release valve that allowed Alhambra to celebrate their win. And because it was over College Park, they did with even more gusto.

The win surely will help the Bulldogs erase memories of the cagey affair in 2015 where the two teams drew 2-2 in a match that saw seven yellow cards and a red card.

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Girls soccer looks to avenge playoff losses https://martineztribune.com/2016/12/30/girls-soccer-looks-to-avenge-playoff-losses/ Fri, 30 Dec 2016 17:30:08 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6195 By GERARDO RECINOS Martinez Tribune For three years now, the Class of 2017 has left the pitch with a bad taste in their mouths after being eliminated in the playoffs. As if any extra motivation was needed, the fact that they’re seniors now means this season could be one of the best in recent memory. …

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By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

For three years now, the Class of 2017 has left the pitch with a bad taste in their mouths after being eliminated in the playoffs. As if any extra motivation was needed, the fact that they’re seniors now means this season could be one of the best in recent memory.

Alhambra’s girls soccer team was one of only three teams whose league got harder rather than more lenient. They lost Dublin and Dougherty Valley in their league but gained a tough College Park team, all the while keeping on Las Lomas, Acalanes, Miramonte and Campolindo.

“I can tell that they don’t want to be there again,” said Coach Ed Marinelli of the playoff exits of years past. “We take one opponent at a time and make sure we’re healthy.”

And they haven’t always been healthy in the past. This season they will be without Adriana Saroni, who has been a starter since her freshman year, and the team has had to make a lot of adjustments around that. “We were really looking forward to her coming back,” Marinelli said. “Big loss, but we’ll make up for it.”

Four seniors that came into the team as freshman have all been coached by Marinelli for the four years he has been with the program. He sees them as his leaders on the team, but just like when they came into the program, there is another group of freshman who have made some early strides to be a unit that could follow in their footsteps.

“One or two may even start,” Marinelli said. “It’s starting all over again, and they’re pushing those upper classmen for playing time.”

At the moment Marinelli is moving things around to see what lineup gives his team its best shot to win, and he has already made some moves that have changed up the way the team plays.

At the start of the season he had captain Sarah Emigh playing in central defense, but as the team started to settle, the emergence of junior Jenna Coffman has allowed him to move Emigh back into the midfield where she is at her best. Her ability to play off of one another with junior Carly Agostino really gets the team ticking.

That, along with holding midfielder Sam Pearson, steadies up a strong middle of the park and allows defenders like Lindsey Alford, Chakeira Cox and freshman Chloe Taylor to play a bit more aggressively when needed.

The league is going to be tough, so solid defense will be necessary.

“The team that can step up at the right time, or the team that makes a simple error is going to lose,” Marinelli said. Parity like this has always been a part of soccer in this area, but with six quality teams battling it out, only Campolindo did not make a North Coast Section playoff last year of the six teams in the Diablo Athletic League.

“Just about anybody right now can beat any team,” Marinelli said of the six-team league.

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Bulldogs and Hornets battle to draw https://martineztribune.com/2016/12/09/bulldogs-and-hornets-battle-to-draw/ Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:04:37 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=6031 By GERARDO RECINOS Martinez Tribune When a team scores in abundance sometimes the trivial thing to say is usually something along the lines of, “make sure you save some for the next game.” But dad jokes aside, when two teams show up on a pitch and one doesn’t seem all that intent on trying to …

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Alhambra sophomore Sam Pearson marks her player in the Bulldogs’ 0-0 draw at Alameda on Dec. 5, 2016. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra sophomore Sam Pearson marks her player in the Bulldogs’ 0-0 draw at Alameda on Dec. 5, 2016. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)

By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

When a team scores in abundance sometimes the trivial thing to say is usually something along the lines of, “make sure you save some for the next game.”

But dad jokes aside, when two teams show up on a pitch and one doesn’t seem all that intent on trying to play free flowing soccer, even the best teams will struggle to finish.

Alhambra’s girls soccer team drew 0-0 with Alameda on Tuesday night in a match where it always seemed a goal was coming. Alhambra had the better share of possession, they created more chances, and they had more shots on goal.

None of those things resulted in what matters most: a goal to break the deadlock.

The Hornets dug in and were compact behind the ball. They put in a defensive shift on the night and stymied any Alhambra attack.

Only briefly did Alameda look like it was willing to play an open-expansive contest. In the opening 10 minutes it was actually the Hornets who settled into the game first. However their only bright spot was a spilled cross in the 18-yard box. The follow up shot was then easily bottled up by senior goalkeeper Nicki Rucki.

That brief run of play did leave Alhambra’s main striker junior Jenna Coffman isolated up top, but she did well to hold up play and allow the rest of the Bulldogs to push up the field.

After escaping the brief period of pressure, the Bulldogs themselves went of the attack.

Junior Carly Agostino slipped in Coffman with a well-weighted through ball, but Alameda did just enough to clear their lines int he 12th minute. But the first true chance of the match came when Agostino slipped in Julia Perez on the right wing. Perez’s shot skipped just wide of the far post but opened up that flank. Most of Alhambra’s resulting moves came from that side of the field due to good link up play between Chakeira Cox and Perez.

Alhambra continued to retain possession and would not let Alameda out of their half. A snap shot by Jaycee Armosino in the 28th minute was harmless to the Alameda keeper, as was a similar second effort by Perez in the 39th minute.

Going into the half, the lack of chances taken was clearly starting to buoy Alameda, but even with that momentum they opened the second half of play by continuing to try punting long balls into the Bulldog half of the field.

Sophomore Sam Pearson’s play was part of the reason the Hornets did so. The second-year varsity player broke up play well in the middle of the park, and routinely worked as the hub in the middle of the park. Her ability to win the ball and find creative players like Agostino, or full backs bombing forward to assist in the attack like Lindsey Alford and Cox, was key.

With Pearson plugging up the midfield, Alhambra attacked more freely. In the 63rd minute, Agostino took on three defenders and beat them all, but was unable to curl her shot into the net, despite a runner flashing toward the far post hoping for a tap in.

Not long after, junior Sophia Olson nearly cut open the Alameda defense when she played in Armosino on the left-hand side. However the resulting shot was cleared for a goal kick.

It just wasn’t coming off for the Dogs. Olson was being gifted a lot of space on the left touchline, but Alameda’s center backs took god angles to close her down. The speed of the pitch, which was a much slower natural grass than the one at Knowles Field, affected the way in which the Bulldogs attacked.

Alhambra was sending everyone forward and taking a risk of being countered but. A poor no call on a foul in the Bulldog attacking third nearly left the Bulldogs stunned. Senior Sarah Emigh was brought down unfairly, but managed to get back and make a game-saving tackle in the 72nd to preserve the deadlock.

Her efforts in defense highlighted how strong the Bulldog backline held up despite some missing pieces. But ultimately it was the attack that left the Bulldogs wanting more.

A curling free kick int he 77th minute off the foot of Emigh was saved and the Bulldogs were unable to score. So that when the buzzer went off only one team felt emboldened by the result.

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Lady Dogs beat Miramonte 2-1 https://martineztribune.com/2016/01/29/lady-dogs-beat-miramonte-2-1/ Fri, 29 Jan 2016 18:56:04 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=3144 By GERARDO RECINOS Martinez Tribune 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 …

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Alhambra full back Lindsey Alford makes a galloping run forward from her right back position in the Bulldogs’ 2-1 victory over Miramonte on Jan. 27, 2016. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra full back Lindsey Alford makes a galloping run forward from her right back position in the Bulldogs’ 2-1 victory over Miramonte on Jan. 27, 2016. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)

By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

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.

Alhambra full back Katie Christman shields her attacker off the ball in the Bulldogs’ 2-1 win over Miramonte. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra full back Katie Christman shields her attacker off the ball in the Bulldogs’ 2-1 win over Miramonte. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
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.

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