Girls Soccer: Blazers shut down Miners 4-0, take over 3rd in West Yosemite League
Wins over El Diamante and Mt. Whitney propel Golden West to just two games out of first place in WYL
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
VISALIA – The Golden West Trailblazers (8-7, 4-2) put on an offensive clinic in the second half of their game against rival El Diamante last Wednesday. Led by Kaylee Valero with two goals the Blazers shutout the Miners 4-0. Along with a loss by the Lemoore Tigers on the same night, the Blazers take over sole possession of third place in the West Yosemite League.
“Each win that we can get right now will help us make the playoffs,” Golden West head coach Kevin Tilley said. “I thought the girls played well. We started passing the ball in the second half, and that led to more scoring chances.”
The first half held scoring chances for both teams, but all were off the mark. It wasn’t until the end of the half that a team was able to connect. Already having possessed the ball for the last five minutes Golden West first goal came in stoppage time. The ball came to Valero along the near side of the penalty box. After she shot the ball it seemed the Miners keeper got a piece of it, but not enough as the momentum carried the ball across the goal line.
Ahead 1-0 to start the second half, Golden West began to attack with confidence. The Blazers possessed the ball for the first eight minutes in the Miners’ zone. The biggest difference was passing.
“We are trying to teach them that the ball moves faster than you,” Tilley said. “If we push the ball, and they move without it then that creates scoring chances.”
What Tilley explained was executed to near perfection in the ninth minute. Elizabeth Weldon got the ball along the center of the field to the far side. As she dribbled it up she passed to Jimena Rivera toward the middle of the field. As Weldon made her run up the sideline Rivera redirected the ball to an open space in front of her.
Onside, Weldon ran behind the Miners defense and gained possession. As she closed in on the penalty box she decided to pass the ball instead to a wide open Valero, instead of shot. That proved to be the right decision as Valero scored her second goal of the evening. That goal made the score 2-0
“We practice that situation a lot, and it paid off,” Weldon said. “I really wanted this win a lot.”
Along with the assist Weldon got the Blazers final goal in the 31st minute when she lobbed the ball. The third goal came on a penalty kick by Izabel Pelayo.
Unfortunately, for the Blazers the win came at a price. In the 20th minute goal keeper Haylee Damron made a punching save in traffic, and sprained her ankle. She is listed as day-to-day. Even without Damron in the net the Blazers still shutout the Mt. Whitney Pioneers (3-14, 0-6) 2-0 last Friday night.
“She is a big loss, I will not deny that,” Tilley said.
With the second round of WYL play now underway all eyes are on can Golden West make a move. First up was a game against the second place Hanford Bullpups. The game happened after press time. Golden West will play again tomorrow night on the road against the Hanford West Huskies.
The Blazers’ game against the Huskies might be the most important of the second round of league. Currently Hanford West is winless in the WYL, and Golden West plays the first place Redwood Rangers on Feb. 2. They should not be looking past the Huskies, or very well might fall victim to a trap game.
The first time the Rangers and the Blazers met on the pitch the outcome was decided by one goal. Redwood edged Golden West 2-1 with all three goals being scored in the second half. In fact those two goals surrendered were the last scored against the Blazers in the past four games.