Dons Girls' Soccer Battle to a Draw at Grant
The Verdugo Hills girls’ soccer team visited the Grant Lancers on Monday afternoon with a chill in the air and rain in the forecast. The Dons were looking to get hot early and have that carry them through the rest of the game, but the Lancers came out and took control of the game from the opening whistle. Ultimately, Verdugo Hills found their game, and what resulted was a back and forth affair in which both defenses refused to break en route to a 0-0 draw.
Grant controlled the pace of play for most of the first 15 minutes but were only able to muster two attempts at the Dons net, neither of which were particularly dangerous. As the 15th minute approached, Verdugo Hills seemed to find their comfort zone and took control of the run of play The key play of this stretch came in the 27th minute when Callia Peterson-Henry had a 1 on 1 break against the Lancers goalie. The keeper played the break aggressively and was able to stuff Peterson-Henry’s shot on goal. The final 15 minutes of the first half saw both teams penetrate the opposition defense, but the most dangerous moment came in the aftermath of a Lancers corner kick. After the ball was played into the penalty area, an attempted Dons clearing attempt found a Grant attacker in prime position, just outside the box. The ensuing shot attempt curled just wide to the right of the goal, leaving the match scoreless. Both teams ended the first half with multiple shot attempts, with the Lancers having 8 attempts with 6 on target. The Dons had 9 shot attempts with 7 on target.
Verdugo Hills opened the second half with the kickoff, and immediately turned the pressure up on the Lancers and received a corner kick within the first two minutes of the half. The Dons proceeded to control the run of play for almost the entire half. Their defense stood tall against every Grant offensive run as they only conceded 1 shot attempt against during the final 45 minutes. The Dons continued to probe the Lancers defense and, even though they couldn’t replicate their shots from the first half, there were multiple dangerous runs. Peterson-Henry spearheaded most of them, namely a run in the 60th minute that ended with a beautiful cross into the box that was just out of the reach of Lia Tsaturyan. The Dons continued to press until the final whistle, including a big push in the game's final minute. Peterson-Henry placed a cross into the box that was punched by the Lancers’ goalie, but the ball stayed within striking distance. Unfortunately for Verdugo Hills, they were unable to get a shot off as Grant turned the play back upfield to run out the clock. “The ball just wasn’t bouncing our way,” said Coach Matt Nicchitta after the game, “but I am very proud of our D and our goalie.”
The Dons take the field again on Monday, December 20 when they play in the South Gate tournament.