After a third place finish in the North Sequoia League last season, this year’s Yosemite High girls varsity soccer team is off to a good start with a 5-1 record, including winning its division at the Roosevelt Tournament.
Nine sophomores from last year’s JV team that was 10-0 in league, have joined three juniors, and eight seniors on this season’s varsity team, and were chomping at the bit to get the season underway after three weeks of practice.
Coach Vanessa Jasper said her team is fired up and working hard to be very competitive in league play this season, and make a good showing in the CIF Central Section playoffs.
On Dec. 4 and 5, the Lady Badgers participated in the Roosevelt Tournament, a tournament YHS has played in for more than 10 years. The Badgers were defeated 1-0 by McLane High in the first game of the Third Division. With only an hour between games, the Badger’s beat Taft 4-2. The win gave the girls some much needed confidence and motivation going into the second day of play.
The team started Saturday off bright and early with a 6 a.m. bus ride back to Roosevelt, for a match with Sunnyside, winning 2-0.
Again, with just an hour’s rest between games, the team got its third consecutive win beating Hanford West 3-1, giving the Badgers the Third Division Championship.
The leading scorer for Yosemite was sophomore Peyton Garner, who scored eight of nine goals in the four games, with Claire Oetinger getting the other. Assists came from Savannah Bohna, Gabi Stegge, Kara Ecksteun, Rose Curley, and Balana Ramos.
“Overall the girls played tough and we were happy going 3-1 against some good teams,” Jasper said. “This definitely was a great way to kickoff the season.”
Following the tournament, the Badgers had the opportunity to redeem its first loss of the season away against McLane on Dec. 9. The girls got a goal within the first few minutes of the game, made by center forward Garner.
The next goal made was by McLane, but after the halftime talk from the coach the ladies were ready to win. They switched things up and moved defensive player Sarah Meeks up to left forward. With this new lineup they scored two more goals, one by Meeks and one from Garner.
Yosemite hosted Roosevelt Monday on Raupp Field, winning 7-2. Yosemite’s goals came from Garner (3), and one each from Bohna, Gianna Mascola, Brooklynn Bragdon, and Oetinger.
Garner, playing varsity as a freshman, had an outstanding season last year scoring 28 goals - seven short of the single-season school record of 35. Garner’s 13 goals in the first six games this season has her well on track to set the single-season scoring record this year.
“We hope to win league this year and go deep into the D-III Central Section playoffs,” said Garner, who has played on a year-round travel team (Fresno’s California Odyssey) the past two years. “We are a more experienced team this year with a lot of quality players.”
Team co-captains are Brooklynn Bragdon, Rose Curley, and Brooke Veater.
Assisting Jasper this year is Shelby Collings, last year’s JV coach, and current assistant football coach Larry Archer. Jennifer Stanley is coaching the JV team this year.
The team plays in the Garces Memorial (Bakersfield) Tournament Friday and Saturday and will play Minarets at home 5 p.m., Dec. 30.