Clovis North Girls Soccer Team hoist the First Place Trophy after beating Buchanan to win the Harold S. Young Tournament. [Photo by Daniel Leon]
Daniel Leon | Editor
In a tournament filled with some of the top soccer talent in the Valley, the Clovis North Broncos emerged as champions, taking down TRAC rival Buchanan in penalty kicks in the final of the Harold S. Young Tournament.
After scoring a goal each in regulation, the conference rivals turned to penalty kicks to decide the outcome. The Broncos were perfect in the situation, connecting on all five attempts while the Bears fell into a hole after missing their third attempt and were never able to recover from the costly mistake.
“We showed a lot of grit, our girls played hard,” Clovis North head coach Nick Pappanduros said. “Our girls were down in a couple games and came back. They’re just a tough bunch of girls and they came together as a unit during this tournament.”
Early in the match was a different story for the Broncos as they struggled to find their footing and move the ball effectively, forcing them into some key changes.
“Buchanan was honest the first 10 minutes – they were swarming us,” Pappanduros said. “So we had to make a little adjustment in the middle to settle the game down and once we did that, the girls relaxed and started playing their game.”
The early adjustments paid off as in the 28th minute freshman Sydney Smith saw an opportunity and delivered a strike to score her first goal of the season and put the Broncos up 1-0 at the half.
“As a freshman, this was my first goal of the season. So it was pretty nice, especially to come against a rival,” Smith said.
However, the Bears would answer early in the second period to tie the game with a strike of their own from junior Erika Montano.
Pappanduros sees this as a building block and measuring stick for his Broncos (4-0-1), which includes a mix of both underclassmen (10) and upperclassmen (13).
“This is a good barometer to see where we’re at,” Pappanduros added. “Things are going well right now and it’s always nice to win this tournament, especially when you’re playing your rival Buchanan, but we still have a long way to go. Our goal is to keep playing in February – that’s where we want to be.”