Taking on Monta Vista in Cupertino, it looked like the Wilcox Chargers varsity girls soccer team would snap a three-game losing streak with an impressive victory. The Chargers carried possession for the majority of the afternoon and led 2-0 with under 10 minutes remaining on goals by junior Sammie Discher in the first half and freshman Nadia Castro in the second half. Unfortunately for Wilcox, the defense, which had been strong most of the game, allowed two quick goals in the 72nd and 77th minutes of the 80-minute contest. The 2-2 tie wasn’t the outcome the Chargers were hoping for, but they controlled the ball for at least two thirds of the game.
After a shaky first 10 minutes, Chargers Head Coach Luis Lujan made a tactical adjustment that paid immediate dividends. Lujan shifted Discher from her usual right-outside midfield spot into more of a center-mid position and brought in sophomore Maya Epps to take over on the right side.
“I felt that I needed to make a change on the right side,” commented CoachLujan. “I decided to push Sammie inside and Maya came off the bench and she does very well on the outside right.”
Almost instantly the Chargers seemed to start maintaining better possession through the midfield leading to a number of quality chances. There were a number of give-and-gos and through balls that led to crosses into the box for good looks on goal. Wilcox would finally score though on a great individual effort. On a pass rolling back toward her, Discher nicely floated a long-distance shot just below the crossbar as she caught the opposing keeper sleeping off her line.
“I think the ball came from the outside, I forget who it was, they passed it back to me and I just took the shot,” commented Discher on her goal. The junior midfielder expressed that it is good for her game to be moved around the field so she can grow as a player.
“It’s definitely different, outside mid compared to center mid is completely different. I think it’s really good that I’m getting the experience because it makes you a more well-rounded player. I think that’s important, getting exposed to more touches and to see the whole field.”
Epps, who took Sammie’s traditional spot played phenomenal off the bench. The sophomore made a number of strong runs down the right side leading to quality chances.
“She did great, she was running really hard, she has that speed on the outside,” noted Discher on Epps. “She was putting in work.”
In the second half, it was the usual suspects in senior leaders Darcie Massey and Paige Jones that really sparkled with their ball movement in the midfield. Jones would streak down the right wing and cross a ball into the box past the diving keeper where Castro was able to get a touch on it and then head it into the gaping net.
From that point on through the 70th minute it looked like Wilcox had the game well in hand, but Monta Vista put on a late push. The first goal was a wide open shot from about 15 yards away that sophomore goalkeeper Shayne Hern had no real chance to stop. On the tying goal, Hern got a piece of a rebound shot after the initial shot hit the post, but it still found its way into the corner of the goal.
“If it’s a nice goal, it’s a nice goal, but one thing I would have liked differently is a little bit more pressure, shut down the lanes,” commented Coach Lujan on giving up the lead late.
Despite giving up the two late goals, the Chargers defense was impressive. In particular Katie Evans, Lindsey Arenson and Renee Santos held strong on the back line. Evans was a rock all game long in the middle, while Arenson made a nice tackle to clear a dangerous ball away in the box and Santos made some subtle, but effective passes, one of which was a nice flick of her head to spring Jones in the midfield.
Wilcox plays two games this week, against Lynbrook and Los Altos.