Girls soccer wins Hacienda League
Varsity girls soccer defeated Diamond Ranch 4-2 in its last home league game Monday, Feb. 5. Along with the victory against the second-place team, Walnut finished in first place in the Hacienda League with a record of 7-3, securing its place in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) for the second consecutive year.
The Mustangs dominated possession in the first half, creating and finishing several opportunities. Right midfielder senior Danielle Dalan tapped it past the goalkeeper to score the first goal of the game. About 15 minutes later, attacking midfielder junior Nadia Amezcua broke the Panthers’ defensive line with a through ball to attacking midfielder junior Kaitlyn Wong who dribbled past the goalkeeper to score. In the last minutes of the half, defensive midfielder junior Cheyenne Tucker rose and headed the ball off of a corner kick, extending the Mustangs’ lead to three goals.
“The goal [was the highlight of my night]. I mean I’ve done assists, I’ve helped make plays, but [it was my] first goal of the season. I was desperate that day. I wanted to score,” Dalan said. “[My goal] helped set the tempo, so after I got subbed out the goals just started coming in.”
In the second half, Diamond Ranch became more organized and began pressuring Walnut’s defense with offensive attacks and counterattacks. With 30 minutes left in the game, Diamond Ranch took advantage of a miscommunication between Walnut’s defensive line and scored to make it 3-1.
“Everyone [was] so relaxed when we started going in, [but then] they scored one. It was really scary, actually. That’s when true teamwork comes in because everyone becomes frustrated at that point. In moments like this you just have to listen to your teammates,” Wong said.
Walnut and Diamond Ranch began playing at a faster pace, resulting in both teams being evenly matched in possession. After a failed play from Diamond Ranch, Walnut clipped a ball over the opponent’s defense and forward sophomore Sarah Aie scored the team’s fourth goal. However, minutes later, Diamond Ranch responded with a goal from outside the 18-yard box. Despite several more attempts from both sides, the game remained 4-2.
“We just kept possession and made sure we passed it, and we would just tell each other to relax,“ right back freshman Kimberly Sandoval said. “I was really excited because this game was really important, and we had been talking about this game and how much we wanted to go to CIF. We’re just super excited that we got to get to this point.”
By Tristan Gonzalez, Sports editor
Photo by Tristan Gonzalez