Editor's note: Monta Vista High School's JV Girls Soccer coach Jonathon van den Berg provided the game highlights for this article. The photos were provided by Yul Inn, a full gallery of the game's photos can be found at http://yulinn.zenfolio.com/p818134345.
Our returning Sophomores Angie, Alice, Amelia, Emma, Fiona, and Shannon combined with fresh faces (OK the freshmen) Isabel, Cindy, Rachel, Bella, Janaye, and Tenaya ALL brought plenty of game to the natural grass—one of a few grass fields left (Los Gatos is the other), and they brought the right combination of perseverance and fight; bouncing back from a tying second-half goal to take a 2-1 lead in that same half, and then to lock down the win—a win that would not have materialized without the continued growth of Audrey between the posts making critical smart decisions and saves in the final 15 minutes.
Saratoga, last year’s champions of the EL Camino division, were promoted to the big league De Anza Division, rightly so, as they looked stronger than in years past. Led by the two twin gals (No.16 and No. 22) they gave a good effort, but Alice led Monta Vista “D” with a great performance, instinctful, verbal, and calculating.
Combined with superb recovery work by Shannon (getting back repeatedly to help), and shutdown play from Rachel and Cindy, our team limited most chances to long shots. We overcame their physical play as well as indecisive officiating (the players deserve better). Of course the entire lineup worked to defend, and our 3-5-2 has proved resilient, this time Angie-Isabel-Amelia forming the nucleus.
We started even, we were fending some disruptive play by Saratoga, but the nucleus began to establish their credentials as smart central players—connecting shorter passes, talking more, going backwards in order to go wide. Once we gained our footing the girls began to earn corner kicks, take outside shots, and force ‘Toga to play facing their own goal. We coaches felt this goalie could be beat, and halfway through the first half some nice combination play led to a long shot from Emma that found the goalie a bit out of position, leading to our early 1-0 lead.
Janaye and Tenaya were working together, and Shannon and Emma were threatening wide, and if you saw the game, ‘Toga kept four defenders back, full time—in order to deal with the 3-5-2 formation.
Down 1-0 it was surprising to see them stay so deep—but we didn’t say anything. Yet this deep four effectively kept our two strikers from getting 1-v-1 to goal chances (we had a few, Janaye had a good break in the second half), but it left a gap in the center, a gap that our nucleus filled nicely, and our three central mids eventually outworked the ‘Toga twins.
As the game, now tied 1-1, progressed, we swapped some players, and encouraged our central midfields to PUSH and to SHOOOOOOTTTT! In fact I believe Jenna shouted to Angie that we want her to take more shots at goal, four minutes later she delivered a laser right-to-left arcing shot that easily beat the goalie for a 2-1 win.
We still had work to do, and with Cindy hurting some, we shifted Angie to the back three, moving Alice out wide in order to neutralize No. 22. Audrey made two great stops, we thwarted all other threats, including a late corner kick which ended the game.
All in all a good three points on the heels of the Gunn win which keeps the team in the hunt. Big games Wednesday and Friday!!