Senior Day is a special moment for every team and school, but for Clovis North girls soccer head coach Nick Pappanduros, Friday afternoon was extra meaningful.
In his eyes, the Class of 2020 for Lady Broncos soccer is “a very special bunch.”
“Most of them have been here since 7th grade,” Pappanduros said. “They’ve bought in since Day One, and their love and enthusiasm shows the underclassmen what this program is about.”
It was poetic then that two seniors – Bella Taglione and Gypsy Friaz – led the way in Clovis North’s 2-0 victory over Clovis West on Senior Day Friday. With the win, Clovis North improved their undefeated record to 16-0-2.
Clovis North netted their first goal with help from a Clovis West mistake in the 20th minute.
A Golden Eagles defender lost possession deep in Clovis West territory, allowing Taglione to swoop in for the steal.
Once the senior forward recovered the ball, there was only open space between herself and Clovis West goalkeeper Autumn Jensen. Taglione found the corner of the net to put the Broncos ahead.
Taglione’s physicality and proficiency in scoring were on full display Friday, something Pappanduros has witnessed throughout the past four years.
“[Bella] has been a physical presence at the forward position, and she never quits on the field. She’s just always going,” Pappanduros said.
Yet Taglione wasn’t the only senior to score on her big day. Later in the first half came another chance for Clovis North, again off a Clovis West turnover.
A steal by Clovis North in the midfield led to a through pass for Gypsy Friaz, who created enough space to launch a shot on goal.
Loading up from just outside the box, Friaz unleashed a long strike that bounced into the goal off the post, doubling the Clovis North lead in the 35th minute.
“I wasn’t really expecting [to score],” Friaz said. “Our team was making nice plays all game, and the ball came to me. I took a chance and we got that goal in.”
Friaz’s chance led to a 2-0 halftime lead.
A deflated Clovis West, which saw two costly turnovers make up the difference in the match, was unable to generate a comeback in the second half. The Golden Eagles could not get anything going offensively, as they saw limited looks at the net and struggled to maintain possession long enough to gain a rhythm.
It was another defensive masterpiece by Clovis North, who turned in their 14th clean sheet of the season and has now run off three straight shutouts.
“Our defense works together as the unit,” Pappanduros said. “We have great leadership in the midfield with Emma Brown and Toni Piercey, and they keep everyone accountable. They go all out and win everything.”
The Clovis North girls soccer squad has done a lot of winning this season. They can thank their seniors for much of that.