Monday’s opening round of the El Camino League playoff tournament pitted No. 1 seed Wilcox against No. 8 seed Cupertino. With a 5-0 score at the end of the first quarter, Chargers Head Coach Scott Blake was able to get all of his players some game action. Even a number of the Chargers’ junior varsity players got into the game. Fresh off winning their league season, JV standouts Jacklyn Quach and Makenzie Edwards each scored twice for the Chargers, while the varsity starters mostly rested in the second half.
“This game wasn’t about whether or not we were scoring goals, we were just trying to stay disciplined,” noted coach Blake on an eventual 14-1 victory. “Our focus today was on the defensive structure that we are going to try and use this week. And of course we were able to get some new players from JV into the game. In the past, discipline can get away from us, so in the third quarter we were trying to get them to work on taking up the whole shot clock, to not shoot too early.”
Star senior Jez Garcia once again led the way with three goals, but it was a good sign that a bunch of the other regulars got involved in the offense. Most notably, it was fellow senior Lauren Padden who chipped in with a number of impressive plays. Not only did she score twice, but one of the goals was perfectly placed inside the top corner, just nicking off the spot where the crossbar meets the post. Her other goal came after some nice give-and-go passing with teammate Chrissy Fritschen.
“[Lauren] had a very solid set of minutes,” agreed coach Blake. “We’ve been pushing her for that, because she has been kind of up and down. On her up games, when Jez is doing well, when Joyce [Huang Ooi] is playing well and Lauren is on her game, we have a lot of weapons. Lauren’s confidence has been growing, she puts in a lot of time after practice working on her shot.”
Padden, Garcia and Huang Ooi, along with goalkeeper Lindsey Laughlin are all senior starters. They lead a roster with nine total seniors out of 12 total players on varsity this season.
“I definitely felt pretty good today,” confirmed Padden on her own performance. “I got subbed out pretty quick, but it was really good to get the other girls the experience.”
Padden echoed her coach’s sentiment on focusing on the defensive aspects of the game with the outcome decided early.
“We were trying to focus on our defense, we were running this m-drop type of thing, so we were trying to focus on that and running out the clock on their opportunities” added Padden. “On offense, we were just trying to work on drawing ejections.”
The Chargers are scheduled to play on Oct. 25. If they pull that victory out, they will play in a league championship game on Oct. 26.