A strong season for the Yosemite High School girls soccer team (14-5-1, 7-2-1 North Sequoia League) came to a close Tuesday night, as the defense of the Golden West Trailblazers (8-8-2, 5-5-1 West Yosemite League) proved enough for a 1-0 victory in the opening round of the Division III Central Section Playoffs.
Playing on the Badger home field, Yosemite fell behind in the second half with about 30 minutes left. Off a corner kick, Badger goalkeeper Charlotte Borough knocked away one shot but it dropped in front of the net, where Golden West’s Crystal Velasquez managed to boot it past Borough’s diving arms.
From there, the Badgers at times mounted a furious offensive attack, but players like team lead scorer Peyton Garner, or captain Riley Ashton, found little chances to take shots against sophomore goalkeeper Haylee Damron.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Vanessa Jasper said her team worked hard this year and would return with a more experienced roster next season.
“The girls worked hard this season,” Japser said. They had some big highs and some lows, but all in all, they really grew as a team.”
Ashton, the team’s lone senior and a star midfielder throughout the year, said she was proud of her teammates.
“I’m disappointed that we lost but I’m not disappointed in our team because we worked really hard this season,” Ashton said. “Nobody let me down on this team. We played our best, and circumstances worked out this way and that’s okay.”
After the game, Ashton led her teammates in a playful chant circle as they all celebrated a season marked by a young roster finishing second in the North Sequoia League to Liberty-Madera Ranchos (15-8-1, 9-0-1 NSL).
The Badgers were seeded No. 8 in the playoffs, while Golden West, of Visalia, was No. 9.
The Trailblazers go on to face returning D-III champ and No. 1 seed Mission Oak of Tulare in the quarterfinal round Feb. 16. The Hawks were on a bye and finished the regular season with a 20-2-1 record, 8-1-1 in the East Yosemite League.
Boys finish with a 3-2 win
Despite a rocky season, the Badger boys (3-19, 1-9 NSL) got its first league win of the year on Feb. 9, beating Chowchilla (5-15-1, 1-9 NSL) 3-2 at home. Though that was followed with a 6-0 loss on Feb. 10 to Washington Union (20-8, 8-2 NSL) to finish the year at 3-19, and 1-9 in the NSL, Head Coach Rick Lemberg said he was proud of his team.
“It was a great win for our boys,” Lemberg said. “It was also senior night and our five seniors were recognized and honored.”
The seniors are Joe Campbell, Dalin Haas, Jacob Rounsivill, Brennan Ryan,and Juan Solis.