Missing star center back Jordan Lesnick has made for a tough go of things for the Santa Clara Bruins soccer squad this preseason. While the junior plays primarily on the back line, it is perhaps her shooting ability that the team misses the most. Against South San Francisco on Dec. 19, the Bruins had opportunities to score from the outside in the first half but passed them up for extra dribbles and eventual crosses into the box.
“It’s always our talk,” admitted Bruins Head Coach Brad Comstock on whether shooting more was discussed at half time. “After every single game we talk about [shooting more]. We don’t shoot. We want to look for that pass in the middle, we want to get one-on-one with the goalie instead of hitting that outside shot.”
Trailing 1-0 at halftime, the Bruins noticeably did start getting more balls directed to goal as they dominated possession for the first 25 minutes or so of the second stanza. Within the first three minutes, the Bruins almost finished off a great sequence. Goalkeeper Lindsey Crocker made a great save for Santa Clara at one end and moments later, at the other end, the Bruins nearly found an equalizer. A cross from midfielder Leah Acevedo to a wide open Michelle Nunes looked extremely promising, but Nunes’ volley attempt right before a defender could close down on her ended up going just wide of the near post.
While the Bruins would continue attacking, a counter-attack goal from the Warriors in the 68th put the game away. They would add a third goal to finish off a 3-0 shutout win. The score though doesn’t tell the whole story, as the Bruins were much closer to coming out with a 1-1 draw than the score would suggest.
One of the main reasons the Bruins played such a strong game was the effort they got from sophomore Logan Morris. Not only did Morris have two of the best Bruins’ runs at goal in the first half, she also filled in at center back and made a terrific read defending. Instead of clearing the ball out of bounds, she cut back through the middle, where nobody was, giving herself time and space to move up field and attack.
“She’s really good, she’s super fast, she makes good runs,” said forward Alisa Bontrager who hit the crossbar from 19-yards out in the waning moments, further adding to the frustrating loss for the Bruins. “She’s always open, you can always find her when you need an outlet.”
“She was all over the field,” added midfielder Cassie Ambelang on Morris. “Especially in the second half she made some really good runs and she’s super fast on the ball.”
The loss drops the Bruins to 0-2-3 on the season. They will play two more non-league preseason games before league starts on Friday, Jan. 3. The hope is that they will have Lesnick back for that league opener against the perennially tough Palo Alto Vikings.