After going 2-9-1 in preseason against larger and more experienced teams, the Yosemite High School girls soccer team opened North Sequoia League play with a 3-1 win over the Chowchilla Redskins Jan. 9.
Senior forward and team co-captain Daphne Norman used her speed to get past Chowchilla defenders and scored on a one-on-one opportunity with the goal keeper. Norman's shot was low and to the back corner of the net.
"The team was very excited to be ahead and to get points on the board," said coach Natalie Cooks.
But the Badger 1-0 lead did not last long as within minutes Chowchilla scored tieing the score at 1-1. The teams remained tied at half.
"At half time the girls were in great spirits." Cooks said. "They were encouraging one another and were excited to get back out on the field for the second half. I knew then that the team's positive attitude would pull them through this game."
In the second half the lady Badgers put two more points on the board. Norman's speed, hard work and determination allowed her to score her second goal of the game, putting the Badgers ahead 2-1.
Yosemite's third goal was scored by junior co-captain Regan Samora from a shot taken just outside the 18-yard box. Cooks said Samora normally plays in the defensive sweeper position, but has been playing in the midfield to help the team stay organized.
"Regan is a smart player and vocal leader on the field which helps the team play as unit," Cooks said.
As good a game that Norman and Samora had, Zoe Powell was the team's "Player of the Game." an honor Cooks gives to one player each game.
"I played Zoe at sweeper, a position she was not that familiar with and she did an amazing job.," Cooks said. "She's fast, tough and made excellent decisions all game long."
Cooks said she was very proud of her entire team for shaking off a frustrating preseason and staring fresh with a positive attitude and strong play in its first league game of the season.
"I think this was the best game they have played this season," Cooks Said.
Badgers play Kerman to 0-0 tie
Last Friday the Lady Badger's hosted Kerman and the two teams fought to a 0-0 tie.
In freezing cold temperatures, Yosemite and Kerman and battled for 80 minutes without either team scoring, sending the game into overtime. After two 10 minute halves of overtime the scoreboard still read 0-0 and the end of play.
"It was a very physical game with both teams playing hard from start to finish but neither team could get the ball in the net," Cooks said.
Cooks was very disappointed with the results.
"Last season we shutout Kerman twice, 5-0 and 4-0," Cook said. "This time around we weren't as successful."
The Badgers had 29 shots on goal compared to Kerman's 12 shots, but came up empty on the scoreboard.
"We just couldn't seem to get the ball in the net," Cooks said. Games like this are so frustrating. We had plenty of opportunities to score. We were taking good shots -- just unlucky I guess."
The JV game also ended in a 0-0 tie.
The team's played yesterday at Sierra and host Liberty Friday. Game times are 5:30 p.m. for JV and 6:30 for varsity.
Boys team at home tonight against Liberty
The Yosemite High boys soccer team (4-7-2, 0-0-2) opened North Sequoia League play with two games last week they didn't win -- but they also didn't lose. The Badgers tied Chowchilla 1-1 on Jan. 8 and a deadlocked with Kerman two days later at 2-2.
Against Chowchilla, the Badgers battled the Redskins to a 0-0 halftime tie.
Chowchilla got its goal on a penalty kick about half way through the second half. Then with about 10 minutes left in the game, Yosemite got its goal, also on a penalty kick by Alex Mello.
The teams played a 10-minute overtime period and neither the Badgers or the Redskins were able to score with the game ending 1-1.
"We played a terrific game," said coach Rick Lemberg. "Chowchilla is a good team and to hold them to just one goal was a big accomplishment for us. Our defense of Austin Bain, Carson Burton, Ethan Griffin, Oliver Curley and Alex Statkus played incredibly well."
Mello scored both goals against Kerman -- first on a nice move coming in from the right corner, then on a penalty kick.
The teams went into two 10 minute overtimes, but neither team was able to score to break the tie.
"Chowchilla and Kerman are two of the most dominant teams in our league, so we can't feel too bad about tieing them, Lemberg said. "Our goal will be to try and beat them at their schools. That is not an easy task, but our team will be ready."
The Badgers played Sierra Tuesday and were home yesterday (Wednesday) against Minarets. The results of both games were not available at press time. The Badgers host Liberty (Madera Ranchos) at 6:30 p.m. home tonight (Thursday) at Raupp Field.