By Johnny Martin | Reporter
The Clovis West Golden Eagles girls’ soccer team defeated Clovis North 2-0 on Jan. 6 at Keith Tice Park to notch their first TRAC win of the season.
Neither team could get much going offensively in the first half. Thanks to great midfield play by both teams and some slippery playing conditions, neither team could generate quality-scoring chances in the half. The Broncos had the best opportunity of the half when one of their shots hit off the top off the crossbar, just missing a 1-0 lead.
“I knew coming into this game that this was going to be a battle, every team in our conference is going to be a battle,” said Clovis West head coach Nikki Schrey. “At the end of the day I think it comes down to work rate and Clovis North had a great work rate but I think we battled and found our flow and we were able to get the win.”
The Golden Eagles came out firing in the second half. With crisp passing and great ball movement, the Eagles were able to generate shots on goal from the start of the half. They were finally able to break through in the 47th minute when they were the beneficiaries of a tough break for the Broncos.
The Eagles’ Darin Tatum, a sophomore in her first varsity season, crossed a ball into the box from the corner right to a Bronco defender but could not handle it and whiffed on the clearance. Gia Jager was right there for the Eagles and she wasted no time in hammering it into the back of the net to give Clovis West the 1-0 lead. Jager is committed to Fresno Pacific where she will continue her education and soccer career next year.
Clovis West remained on the attack following their first goal. On a counterattack following a Bronco rush, the Golden Eagles used a beautiful through ball that Tatum was on the receiving end of this time. She dribbled around the last defender giving her a clear shot on goal and did not miss, giving the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead with just over 12 minutes left in the game.
“We did what we needed to do, we executed and we were disciplined,” Schrey said. “It just goes to show you, especially in the attack, your job never really ends. If we have someone who works hard and crosses the ball but there’s no one there to finish, we need all the pieces to finish opportunities and it took everybody on the field today to get that done.”
Following the second Golden Eagle goal, the Broncos got on the attack, pressuring the Clovis West backline but they were up to the challenge as the Broncos could not muster up a goal and they’d suffer a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Eagles.
“I’m proud of my girls, they showed up, gave everything they had for every minute and they wanted to play,” Schrey said. “It’s huge for us to get our first TRAC win and for our team going into the TRAC being a lower-ranked team, it’s a huge confidence builder for our girls.”
The Golden Eagles improve to 7-1-2 (1-0) on the season and they’ll look to add another TRAC win Jan. 10 when they welcome the Grizzlies of Central to Tice Park for their next matchup. The Broncos fall to 7-3-3 (0-1) but will return home for their next TRAC game against the Cougars of Clovis High.
“We’ve still got to work on maintaining and stringing passes together and keeping our possession game going forward,” Schrey said. “If we learn to get rid of the ball at the right opportunities and possess up the field, I have no doubt that we’re going to continue to find success.”