After a difficult Jan. 18, 5-1 loss to league-leading Liberty-Madera Ranchos, the Yosemite Badgers girls soccer team (14-2, 4-1 North Sequoia League) were ready to redeem themselves with two home games last week - and two victories - against Chowchilla (6-15-2, 1-5 NSL) on Jan. 26, and Kerman (4-11-2, 0-5-1 NSL) last Thursday, all in preparation for a shot at league leading Liberty (12-4-2, 6-0 NSL) Feb. 4 at home.
In the first round of league play, the Badgers came home from Chowchilla with a convincing 7-1 win. In round two, the team notched yet another victory, winning 5-1.
Kara Eckstein and Riley Ashton each scored two goals for Yosemite, with the team’s leading scorer Peyton Garner adding one. Assists came from Savannah Bohna and Tiffany Casey.
After two games in a row, the Badgers were tired, but strong enough to beat Kerman 6-1. Last year when the Lady Badgers played Kerman on Raupp Field, it was a rough game, with a fight breaking out between a few players on both teams.
Going into the game, team members knew they would have to keep their cool.
It was again a very physical game, but the Yosemite girls toughed it out, and beat the Lions 6-1.
Garner scored three of the goals, with Ashton, Bohna, and Eckstein scoring one each.
Eckstein and Bohna had beautiful cross-shots that set up both Garner and Ashton for two great shots. Eckstein and Bohna also scored.
Garner, a sophomore, now has 28 goals on the season, and junior center midfielder Ashton has 13. The YHS single-season scoring record is 35.
The Badger JV team were also successful last week, winning both games, keeping undefeated in league.
Liberty at Yosemite Feb. 4
At 5:30 p.m. tonight, Feb. 4, the team hosts Liberty, who comes to Badger Stadium with 77 straight NSL wins which translates to seven straight NSL titles. Liberty has not lost a league game since joining the NSL in 2009.
The team is currently ranked No. 9 in the Central Section - No. 2 in D-III.
The team is lead by junior Raina Wristen, who has scored more than 20 goals this season.
Third year Liberty Coach Eric Walker says he and the team try not to think about the win streak, concentrating on working hard and getting better every week.
“Each year, the win streak puts a bigger target on our back,” Walker said.
Yosemite’s only league loss was to Liberty at Madera Ranchos, 5-1 on Jan. 25. Yosemite is ranked No. 4 in D-III of the Central Section.
Yosemite Coach Vanessa Jasper feels members of her team will give their all against Liberty.
“I have always said when you walk away from a game, no matter the outcome, and can say I gave it everything I had, then you’re good,” Jasper said. “I know the girls will play hard and put everything into this game and that’s all I can ask for as a coach. Let the rest be history.”