The Clovis North girls soccer team kept its perfect league record intact with a 1-0 win at Buchanan High School on Friday, Jan. 18.
The Broncos improved to 16-1-2 overall and 5-0 in the TRAC.
Buchanan (9-8-3, 1-4) came into the game with only one win in league and found itself down 1-0 in the first half. Still, the Bears found a burst of new energy in the second half and almost came away with the equalizer in the final seconds.
“We created a couple of mismatches,” Buchanan head coach Tim Carroll said. “Late in the first half, we made a couple adjustments that we were looking to pay off and it kind of got their backline scrambled a bit, so we went to that a little bit in the second half based on some matchups.”
The game’s only score came in the 15th minute. That’s when junior Emma Drake beat the goalkeeper with a blistering kick.
“She hit a perfect shot,” Clovis North head coach Nick Pappanduros said. “It had to be a perfect shot,”
The Broncos almost scored a second goal late in the first half, but Buchanan goalkeeper Nicole Chu came out and knocked the ball away just in the nick of time.
“I thought we controlled 75 percent of that game actually and just came up a little short, but that’s soccer,” Carroll said. “We out-chanced them like 2-1. We gave up an early goal from distance and it ends up breaking our backs.”
Pushing the tempo in the second half, the Bears controlled the game and earned several set piece opportunities. Still, the Bears were unable to threaten the keeper.
“Any time we play Buchanan, it’s always a battle no matter what and it goes from start to finish,” Pappanduros said. “Both teams just always give each other fits and play hard the entire time.”
The Bears’ best chance came seconds before the final whistle. That’s when Olivia Koop sent a long-distance shot that was saved by the fingertips of the goalkeeper.
“I’m super proud of the way the girls played,” Carroll said. “Like I told them, ‘you guys were the better team today, we just came up short and that’s soccer sometimes.’”
The Bears also got off to a slow start in league last year, but they managed to finished with a 6-1-3 record before winning the D-1 Central Section title.
“We have a lot of players that have won a championship last year, so they know what it takes to get the job done,” Carroll said. “We were in the same position last year and so it’s just ‘hey we’ve been here before, we can do it again.’”