|On February 14th, 2012 the Scotts Valley Falcons girls varsity soccer team traveled to Cabrillo College, Aptos to play a home game against the Harbor Pirates. The game was designated as "senior day." The Pirates have had a tremendous season compiling a 2011-12 record of 9 wins, 4 losses and 4 ties. In the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League (SCCAL) they have a record of 4 wins, 3 losses and 4 ties. The Pirates have scored 46 goals this season while only allowing 18 goals. The Pirates have had a successful girls soccer history winning 3 Central Coast Section (CCS) championships and 1 SCCAL championship since 1997. The talented Pirates are currently ranked 5th in the Sentinel Power Poll Rankings. The Pirates are a very skilled, fast and competitive team in the CCS and SCCAL. The last time these teams met on January 19th the final score was Falcons 3 to the Pirates 0.
The Falcons go into this game with a 2011-12 season record of 11 wins, 4 losses and 3 ties. In the SCCAL we hold first place with 8 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. Our team has scored 29 goals and only allowed 8 goals. We are currently ranked #1 in the Santa Cruz Sentinel Power Poll Rankings for the Santa Cruz County. In MaxPreps Sports we hold the #223 ranking nationally, #132 ranking in California and the #13 ranking in the CCS. We went into this game knowing we had to raise our play and expectations against an opponent hungry to defeat us.
We started this game knowing how special it is to play in a college stadium against a long time rival on senior day. The Falcon players were pumped and energized to come out at the start of the game with consistent pressure and determination. Our Falcons had a game strategy that would wear down our opponents and hopefully put some shots on the Pirate goalkeeper. In the 22nd minute we received a corner kick to the left side of the Pirate goal. Senior Taylor Rohde took the kick and delivered a nice pass to the front of the Pirate goal. Senior captain Emily Payne had positioned herself directly in front of the pass and leaped into the air for a header. Emily headed a beautiful pass to the feet of senior Ranae Maloney. Ranae had beaten her defender and one touched a shot into the goal past a diving Pirate goalkeeper for our first score. A brief celebration by the Falcons quickly turned back into serious business to get back to work. During the next few minutes the Falcons sophomore Darby McFall and senior Ranae Maloney had hard shots put on the Pirate goal but were shutdown by the excellent play of the Pirate goalkeeper. In the 37th minute senior Ranae Maloney broke free down the right sidelines and turned inside with the ball. Ranae picked up senior Sonja Gustafsson sprinting down the center. Ranae made a beautiful cross to the feet of Sonja who controlled the pass and sent a shot into the net for our second goal. The rest of the half played out with the Falcons putting 6 shots on goal while the Pirates put 4 shots on goal. The half ended with the score being, Falcons 2 to the Pirates 0.
During halftime we had the senior day festivities but after words we refocused and realized we a long ways to go in this game. The second half started with both teams trying to manage and build an attack. The Pirate midfielders were controlling the ball and making good crisp passes while being patient for a shot. In the 55th minute the Harbor midfielders made a series of good passes to one of their players down the right sidelines approximately 30-35 yards away from our Falcon goal. The Harbor player put a great kick to the Falcon goal that sailed over the outstretched arms of junior captain, goalkeeper Emily Johnson to make the score 2 to 1. Our Falcons regrouped and picked up the pace and effort. In the 64th minute we received a corner kick to the right of the Pirate goal. Senior Taylor Rohde once again took the kick and delivered a rocket shot to the middle of the net. The ball bounced once and was taken by the streaking senior captain Jordin Carlson who quickly knocked the ball into the right side of the Pirate goal for our third goal. We continued to maintain our own composure and keep up the attack with our game plan. In the 80th minute of the game sophomore Megan Keating took a swing pass and chipped the ball up the right sidelines. Senior Ranae Maloney raced down the sidelines winning the ball and taking it to the corner, Ranae sent a 20 yard shot to the Pirate goals near post where the goalkeeper had positioned herself. The ball rose over the Pirate goalkeepers hands and into the net for our fourth score. The game ended soon after with the Falcons putting 6 more shots on goal and the Pirates had 3 shots on goal. The final score ended up being, Falcons 4 to the Pirates 1.
Our Falcon goalkeeping and defense was once again fantastic. Junior captain Emily Johnson showed her athletic ability, good decision making, quick feet and sure hands the whole game as goalkeeper. Emily was relentless and fearless in the 18 yard box making plays few goalkeepers can make. On one series of plays a Harbor forward broke free and was one on one with Emily. Without hesitation Emily attacked and smothered the Pirates attempted shot. Emily left the net wide open but quickly jumped to her feet and deflected a second shot while her fellow defenders had caught up on the play and were now back into position to keep several more attempted shots from going into our goal. The play highlighted our effort as a team working together. The Falcon defenders had a phenomenal game stepping up and stopping the explosive Pirate offense. The defenders were led by senior captain Jordin Carlson, senior captain Kalynn Morano, junior Kacey Lilly, sophomore Megan Keating and junior Rachel DuBridge.
The Falcon midfielders were nothing short of sensational. The inside midfielders led by senior captain Emily Payne, junior captain Madison Black, sophomore Lena Gustafsson and senior Shanan McFall battled with the Pirate midfielders all game. The Falcon outside midfielders led by senior Ranae Maloney, senior Jessica Romeo and senior Kathryn Balch made runs all game that raised havoc on the Pirate defense. Having an exceptional game was impact player Ranae Maloney who had 2 goals and 1 assist while playing very well both on offense and defense.
The Falcon forwards were led by senior Sonja Gustafsson, senior Taylor Rohde, sophomore Darby McFall, junior Jessie DuBridge and junior Kyla Miller. The Falcon forwards were all over the field making runs and dropping back defensively.
I want to thank the Harbor Pirates for a fantastic game. Our season record now stands at 12 wins, 4 losses and 3 ties. Our first place record in the SCCAL now stands at 9 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. Our last SCCAL game will be against the Soquel Knights, Thursday, February 16th, 2012, 6 PM at Soquel High School.