West High’s defense held up for the first 40 minutes against Tri-City Athletic League leader St. Mary’s High on Wednesday at West’s Steve Lopez Stadium.
Then the Rams began the second half ahead 1-0 and ready to use their speed and passing to outmaneuver the Wolf Pack (2-4-1, 1-2 TCAL), building a 6-0 win.
St. Mary’s (9-5-2, 3-0 TCAL) started with offensive pressure, but West sophomore Audrey Romo, in a new role as the Wolf Pack goalkeeper, and junior Brittany Bem and senior Saara Latifi protected the goal.
Romo had six saves in the first half, including two after St. Mary’s players had sprinted past West’s defenders for one-on-one shots. Bem also made a block and cleared the ball away when Romo was knocked down after making a save.
In the 32nd minute, Salma Flores shot to Romo’s right and scored, putting St. Mary’s up 1-0.
“The intensity was high,” Romo said, explaining that she had played goalie in beach and indoor soccer leagues, but facing St. Mary’s was a new challenge. “Those girls are trained really well. They kept getting shots on me and it’s hard to block all of them.”
Bem added that West built up its confidence in the first half.
“We communicated and I felt like we were excited,” she said. “During second half, we just got overconfident and didn’t push as hard.”
St. Mary’s scored its second and third goals in the first two minutes of the second half before West settled into its game again. Senior Maddie Wright and juniors Natalia Bijak, Karla Perez and Amanda Beck kept up the offensive pressure for West. They had their best chance to score in the 66th minute, when Bijak took a shot that was blocked by the St. Mary’s goalkeeper and Beck followed up with an open shot that went high.
St. Mary’s scored back-to-back goals in the 73rd minute and one final goal in the 76th minute.
West’s freshman-sophomore team beat St. Mary’s 3-2, putting the Wolf Pack at 4-1-1 and 3-0 in the TCAL. Azaleia Caluza scored all three of West’s goals.
Contact Bob Brownne at email@example.com or 830-4227.