Girls’ varsity soccer stalemates Rowland in first season game

Trailing 0-1 against Rowland, attacking center midfielder senior Catrina Gonzalez drilled in the game-tying goal in the second half, resulting in a 1-1 draw at home on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

“It felt really nervous because it was the first game of the season, and it was a new coach. Also, now that we have separated junior varsity from varsity officially, we haven’t really had any practice but then when the game started it just went away,” goalie junior Ariana Noguera said.

During the first half, the team continually took the ball from Rowland’s possession, allowing the Raiders one shot the whole half, which ended up being the only point for Rowland. On offense, Walnut struggled to score as the team missed three attempted shots at the goal.

“I think we did better in the second half but in the first half, it was our first game together so we were still trying to get used to playing with each other, so it was kind of hard, but we did better in the second half. The first half it was hard for us to connect because like I said it was our first time playing together, so that was okay but defense, I think we needed to communicate a little more and just get used to playing with each other. We knew we had to catch up, so when you’re playing catch up you have to work harder, so I think [them scoring on us] made us play harder,” outside midfielder junior Marissa Amaya said.

Determined to not lose the game, the Mustangs fought back. An early second-half goal from Gonzalez changed the momentum as the Mustangs prevented Rowland from scoring again for the rest of the game.

“The second half we did much better. We were able to connect our passes. I felt like we should won the game by a lot more; we are still trying to get used to how we each play.” Gonzalez said.

The 66 degree rainy weather affected the team’s playing style. The wetness of the field restricted the players from keeping a steady foot, and the constant downfall of rain made it hard to keep up with the slippery ball.

“It’s a lot of fun. Personally I love rainy games, because it feels like you’re playing in a movie, like that’s just how it’s supposed to be. It makes the game much more dramatic and intense. Our coach gave us specific constructions to not let the weather bother us, so we were doing the best that we could to try to ignore the rain, and how cold it was,” outside midfielder sophomore Kelsey Leimbach said. “The ball moved three times as fast in the rain, especially since it was on turf, so it was really fast, and it was pretty hard trying to trap the all. It definitely took some adjustment, but a couple minutes into the half you start getting used to it.”

Transition: Through the first game of the season, the team is able to see what its strong points are and what it j to improve on. The Mustangs’ needed to work on communicating with each other more by letting each other know who’s open and if someone from the other team was going to come to defend them.

“Well the second half was a lot better than the first half but I think that we could have improved on moving off the ball and communicating with each other. We also had a lot of opportunities to score so we just need to work on putting in the back of the net. But all in all I think we did well for our first game together,” right wing sophomore Sarah Kamanta said.

transition: By the end of the season, the team hopes to be able to improve and go farther than the first round of CIF, which it failed to do last year. In order to accomplish its goals, the team practices drills every single day. It uses scrimmages as a way to practice and improve on its shots and ball movement.

“As a team I want to take my team to CIF and I want to go far in CIF. I don’t want to go to first round [and] drop out. Last year we played the defending champions of CIF in our first round, and I know my team could have beaten that team,” Hajirnia said. “Our caliber at Walnut isn’t too high. There’s many other teams that are better than us, but we have to remember that there’s always other people practicing, and that’s how they get better, so we just have to keep going at it, and never quit, ever, no matter what,” striker senior Joleen Hajirnia said.

By Jocelyn Chow, Staff writer

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