Girls Soccer: Exeter Monarchs win four in a row before rematch with D-IV valley champions
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
EXETER – The last time the Monarchs surrendered a goal in a Central Sequoia League game, it resulted in a 1-0 loss to the Kingsburg Vikings on Jan. 11. Since that time, Monarchs have shut out their last four opponents by a combined score of 9-0. The most recent came last Thursday night as the Monarchs dominated the Emperors 3-0.
“We are beginning to find a groove right now with some younger players stepping up,” Exeter head coach Darin Lasky said. “We are ready to go.”
Ten minutes into the game, Exeter (10-4, 5-1) had established their offensive prowess by mostly attacking up the right side to allow one crossing pass after another. Unfortunately, the first seven passes were placed too far ahead of any charging players.
“That last connection is our issue right now,” Lasky said. “We pull that together and things are going to open up for us.”
In the 23rd minute, Exeter finally connected on a crossing pass inside the box. The ball found the foot of charging Kaytee Davidson, who ran past the Dinuba (1-20-2, 0-5-1) defender. Reaching the open field, she tried to kick the ball toward the far post, but went wide.
Shortly after that attack, Exeter broke through and scored. In the 26th minute, Brianna Maciel took the ball up the center of the penalty box. As she dribbled the ball, she was tripped up, awarding Exeter with a penalty kick. Lexe Cortez was the one who took the shot, and buried it in the upper right hand corner of the net.
“I don’t look at the ball, or the keeper, and just stay focused on the shot,” Cortez said.
Cortez added her second goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. Off another attack up the right side she sent the ball from the 20 yard line up and over the Dinuba goal keeper.
In the second half, Maciel scored the Monarchs’ third goal from the middle of the penalty box.
The win over Dinuba came two days after Exeter ended one of their more undesirable streaks. On Tuesday, Jan. 23, Exeter defeated the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers (6-10-2, 1-3-1) 1-0. Cortez scored the lone goal in that game to hand Exeter their first win since before 2007.
“That was a huge win for use,” Lasky said.
Also in that game, senior goal keeper Taylor Hornburg saw significant playing time. Hornburg returned the week before from an ankle injury. Hornburg also played the first half of Exeter’s win over Dinuba. Hopefully, her experience will lend a hand in stopping Vikings striker Marissa Montelongo, who has 21 goals this season.
The Vikings and the Monarchs meet on the pitch at Kingsburg High School at 6 p.m. tonight.