The Millennium High girls soccer team positioned itself for a good shot at the Central California Athletic Alliance title with a 2-1 win at home this week over Venture Academy of Stockton.
Tuesday’s matchup between the Falcons (10-1-2, 10-1 CCAA) and the Venture Academy Mustangs (10-1-1, 8-1 CCAA) was Venture Academy’s chance to take sole possession of first place in the league after handing Millennium its only league loss, 3-1, on March 21 in Stockton.
“It gives us a chance. If we win out, we can at the very least be co-champions,” Millennium coach Dominic Figueroa said. “They beat us last time, and we wanted to know that we can stand up to the challenge and actually beat a team that’s beaten us before.”
Tuesday’s game went scoreless until midway through the second half. Sophomore goalie Anekha Birdi had seven saves for the Falcons before the Mustangs scored in the 63rd minute.
Millennium scored five minutes later. Senior Ivy Torres passed the ball forward, which drew Venture Academy’s defenders and goalie toward the ball and gave junior forward Victoria Garza a chance to fire a long shot past the goalie and into the net.
The Falcons scored again in the 73rd minute as the offense and defense battled for possession in front of the Mustangs’ goal. The Venture Academy goalie blocked a shot but was unable to hold onto the ball, and sophomore midfielder Valeria Diaz was there to knock the ball in.
“That was the opportunity, and I shot it,” Diaz said. “You’ve got to follow up the ball. If you have the chance, you take it.”
Garza said afterward that the win showed that the Falcons could create opportunities against a strong rival.
“Venture is a really good team, but we put ourselves out there and were the better team,” she said. “We should be doing really good after the motivation of winning this against Venture.”
Kimball 4, Manteca 1
The Kimball High Jaguars girls soccer team finished the first half of the Valley Oak League season with a win Tuesday against the visiting Manteca High Buffaloes, taking second place behind East Union High.
After a scoreless first half, Kimball (7-2, 6-1 VOL) took the lead in the 42nd minute as sophomore Samantha Tran passed the ball up to junior Abby Dyer, who made the shot.
Manteca (10-3-1, 3-2-1 VOL) also scored early in the second half and tied it 1-1.
Dyer broke the tie in the 54th minute when she charged up the left side, past Manteca defenders, and worked her way through the middle for a shot, putting Kimball up 2-1.
“To be honest, I was a little scared the first half, but we pulled it together in the second half,” Dyer said. “It was kind of like a championship game, where you persevere and go as hard as you can.”
Kimball coach Ron Hattley said that Dyer anchored the Jaguar offense through her forceful presence on the left side of the field and her ability to recognize opportunities in the middle.
“She’s critical to us being able to settle down and really being able to attack the way we want to,” Hattley said.
Dyer set up Kimball’s third goal by getting the ball to junior midfielder Taylor Hopkins. Hopkins passed the ball forward to Tran, who bounced a shot over the Manteca goalie’s head. Tran scored again on a similar play three minutes later, this time with an assist from senior midfielder Mireya Magana.
Hattley said that freshman goalie Amanda Leal was critical to keeping Kimball in the game. She had 13 saves Tuesday. The Jaguars have shut out their opponents in five of their seven wins.
Contact Bob Brownne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4227.