Girls soccer: Bears clinch TRAC title

Buchanan goalkeeper Alexa Marchini dives for the ball during the Bears’ TRAC match with Clovis East. (Contributed by Bobby Medellin)

With a 1-0 win at Clovis East on Feb. 2, the Buchanan girls soccer team officially clinched a league title. It was a long road back to the top for the Bears, who started the season at the bottom of the TRAC.

“I’m proud of this team because three weeks ago we were in last place,” Buchanan head coach Tim Carroll said. “These players could have quit on me and they could have said, ‘my coach is mean and we’re not getting the results we want.’ But these girls have grown mentally, so now when things don’t go their way throughout the course of the game, they’re finding ways to persevere. Earlier in the season we couldn’t have done that.”

The game at Clovis East was the latest example of the team’s perseverance. The Bears didn’t have a lot going their way, but they kept fighting and eventually found a moment that changed everything.

Senior Kyndel Borman delivered that moment in the second half, scoring directly from a freekick to give the Bears a 1-0 win.

“It was almost dead-on, straight ahead of the frame, so I saw that the keeper was favoring one side, so I just hit it to the near post,” Borman said.

The game started with Clovis East controlling the action. The Timberwolves earned a corner in the first minute and fired a shot on target, but were not able to beat the goalkeeper.

“We are very resilient, so when we see a good shot like that, we know we have to come back harder after that,” Borman said.

Keska Turner was able to get another shot for Clovis East in the 10th minute, but the shot went wide and the game remained scoreless.

The Bears earned their first corner of the game in the 17th minute, but couldn’t convert. In the second half, the Bears focused on stopping the Timberwolves’ counterattacking.

“They have a strong middlefield group, so what was happening was that we were giving them too much space and too much time, so their backline can settle, find their midfielders and their midfielders have really good precision with their long passing,” Carroll said. “At halftime, I showed them how we can cut those out and make it so that they’re not getting runs at us as much.”

With the win, the Bears pushed their winning streak to five, improving their record to 14-4-4 overall, 5-1-3 in the TRAC.

“Just two weeks ago we were at the bottom of the table,” Carroll said. “Now, we’re at the top. That’s a good feeling.”

The Timberwolves dropped to 7-10-2 overall, 3-4-2 in league.

“We knew that it was going to be a fight. I think we were evenly matched,” Clovis East assistant coach Jaycee Ogden said. “We played some of our best soccer that we have played so far this season and we know that we are probably going to see them again in the playoffs, so that’s what we are looking forward to.”