This past Thursday, the girls soccer team continued their undefeated season against the Palo Alto Vikings, ending with a score of 4-0.
The Vikings controlled the ball for most of the first half, but M-A kept up a strong defense. Despite their strong pressure on the Bears, the Vikings were not able to score any goals.
Nearing the end of the first half, M-A had a couple of shots that just narrowly missed the goal. With two minutes left in the half, junior Valerie Latu-Nava had a near miss by hitting the post. The two teams went into halftime with the game tied at 0-0.
With refreshed intensity, M-A put immediate pressure on the Vikings at the start of the second half. They kept constant possession of the ball on Paly’s half of the field. The Vikings tried to keep a strong defense, but the Bears were too persistent. Soon after the second half started, Lata-Nava opened the scoring after a series of extraordinary passes, giving the Bears a 1-0 lead 15 minutes into the half.
After their first goal, the Bears could smell victory and were hungry for more. They continued to dominate possession of the ball and, courtesy of junior Tatum Olesen, shot a ball that barely passed by Paly’s goalkeeper just a few minutes later, extending the Bears lead to two. Shortly after, with an assisting throw-in from sophomore Brooke Fehrenbach, senior Kate Nelson buried another shot. The Bears were now at a comfortable score of 3-0.
Paly managed to get a couple of opportunities to score, but they were no match for M-A’s keeper, senior Gigi Edwards. She defended the net and caught stray balls every time they fell near her, ending the game with a total of four saves.
The Bears regained control over the game and kept pushing forward. After a beautiful build-up, sophomore Alessia Bolanos emerged with the ball and fired it in the net just ten minutes after the third goal. With their 4-0 lead, the Bears celebrated their impending victory.
A few minutes later, the referee called for the end of the game, and the Vikings were officially put down; the Bears were victorious once again.
Head Coach Jason Luce commented on their victory, saying, “We started slow today, and Paly outplayed us in the first half, but then towards the second half, we got more settled down. Good team work, good passes. Once we scored, we got a little bit more competent.”
Edwards agreed, “In the first half, we went off on a bit of a rough start. But by the second half, we came out and we definitely want to win more. I think the highlight of the game was the first goal because it switched the momentum. They were going into halftime and it was tied, so that first goal cracked things open for us and we were able to have a bit more fun on the field.”
Senior Susie Wagstaff said, “We’re coming into the season with very high hopes for the future, and we have a team that is very young and has the drive to do very well in this league and for the tournaments in the future. So I think, once we realized that and recognized that we have things to prove here, we started doing really well.”
Nelson continued, “We really set the tone at the beginning of the season, like ‘this is our season,’ just because we have the same starting lineup as we did last season. It’s the same players coming back, so we’ve already had a year of experience together. We’re really happy that we’re undefeated and that we’re performing up to our standards.”
When asked about the key to their success, Wagstaff said, “Communication for sure. Sometimes, I think that when we start to lose that momentum and start to freak out with the ball, we forget that we are one big team that really needs to work together.”
The girls soccer team looks to continue their winning streak in their next game against Menlo on January 5.