Blazers shut out Tigers in mud bowl
Golden West scores multiple goals in 9-0 win
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
VISALIA – The gumption of the Golden West Blazers’ offense was not doused by the steady rain which fell at Groppetti Community Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 29, as they defeated the Woodlake Tigers 9-0.
“The girls played really well despite the conditions we had to play in tonight,” Golden West head coach Kevin Tilley said.
The game time had been moved from 6 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to try to complete the game before the field got in too wet. Almost on cue for the referee’s whistle, the skies opened up for a heavy downpour.
The Blazers (1-1) and the Tigers (0-2) took a few minutes to get a feel for the field as it turned into mud. Some passes slowed down in a couple areas near the middle of the field where the ball changed possession almost constantly during the first five minutes. Then when a team went on the attack the ball would skim across the puddling field.
Woodlake went on the offense first with an attack four minutes in along the far side of the field. A shot across the net posed little threat for the Blazers’ goal keeper Haylee Damron. For most of the rest of the game the Tigers were solely on the defense until briefly late in the second half when they got had a couple runs.
Off Woodlake’s first attack Golden West was able to counter. Their crisp, short passes worked to perfection and eventually one found the foot of Izabel Pelayo in the middle of the penalty box. She settled the ball and fired it into the lower left corner for the game’s first goal in the sixth minute.
“The ball movement and connection has been something we’ve been working on, and it is something we were able to accomplish tonight,” Tilley said.
Pelayo added her second goal of the night in the 37th minute. In between those goals the Blazers had scored three other times to make the halftime score 5-0. Kaitlyn Tilley scored on a penalty kick in the eighth minute.
As the match drew on the rain had settled but returned in earnest, and with it came an almost certain chance of thunderstorms. Luckily, they did not materialize, but the Blazers provided enough electricity on the field, adding four more goals.
In the rarest of situations Damron was switched from goal keeper to forward, and scored two goals. Her first was in the fifteenth minute when she followed her own shot and finished the rebound into the net. Ten minutes later she added her second on a penalty kick.
“Last year we didn’t have this opportunity to give her a chance to play forward, but when she does, she is a fighter,” Tilley said.
Golden West had the rest of the week off before they begun a seven-game road trip last night against the Reedley Pirates. Final happened after press time. The Blazers travel to Central Valley Christian to play the Cavaliers at 6 p.m.
Woodlake returns to play tomorrow night at home against the Lindsay Cardinals as both teams open East Sequoia League play.