The Yosemite High lady badgers varsity soccer team (8-1) beat Orcutt, Kennedy High, and Antelope Valley last week to win its division at the Garces Holiday Soccer Festival.
Playing against unfamiliar teams, Yosemite was tested with how well they can adjust to, and overcome difficult situations, including the loss of the team’s leading scorer, sophomore Peyton Garner, and defensive player Sarah Meeks to injuries.
The first team the Badgers faced was Orcutt, Friday night after a two-and-a-half hour drive to Bakersfield. Despite the tiring trip, Yosemite took a quick lead of 3-0.
Garner was injured during the second half after a hard collision with an opposing player, and had to be carried off the field. Garner suffered pulled ligaments in her ankle, and hopefully will be able to return to action in two to three weeks.
Meeks suffered from muscle spasms in her back but was able to return for the last game of the tourney.
The Badgers finished off Orcutt 4-1, starting the girls off with a solid win.
The following morning the girls went up against Kennedy High of Bakersfield.
The first half was rocky for the Badgers, and the game was tied 1-1 with only a minute left when midfielder Riley Ashton nailed a perfect header into the right-hand corner of the net to give Yosemite the 2-1 win.
Later that afternoon Yosemite faced its third and final game of the tournament against Antelope Valley.
Many parents and teams had warned the Badgers before the game that Antelope Valley plays very aggressively, and would be “hard to beat.” The girls were ready for a tough game, and they would be playing again without Garner, who at the time was headed to the doctor’s office.
It was a physical game with plenty of drama, including the Antelope Valley’s coach being sent off the field by referees with a red card along with one of his players, and yellow cards given to additional Antelope Valley players as well.
Despite the physicality of the game, Yosemite dominated play, winning 6-0, and claiming the tournament championship for its division.
With cheers all around and heightened spirits, the girls headed home to get some much needed rest.
“Each game I see the girls improving and growing as a team,” said coach Vanessa Jasper. “This last weekend, I watched them dig deep from exhaustion, injuries, and frustrations and come out on top. That’s exciting to see.”
The team is looking forward to hosting Minarets at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, in a non-league game. The team travels to Chowchilla Jan. 12, for it’s league opener, and is home for a 5:30 p.m. game Jan. 14 with rival Sierra.