Dons Girls Soccer Dominate in First Win of Valley College Tournament
On Thursday morning the Verdugo Hills Dons girls soccer team played their first game in the L.A. Valley College soccer tournament. Their first opponents were the Guerreros Jaguares of Academia Avance. This match was a big one for Verdugo Hills. Not only was it their first match of this tournament, but it was also a revenge match for the Dons. In their most recent meeting Academia Avance and Verdugo Hills had faced off in the playoffs last season, with Academia Avance eliminating Verdugo from that playoff run. So, on either side of the pitch this match was history and tension. This did not change the approach of the Dons and rather fueled them to play even harder.
In light of all the recent COVID-19 issues around Los Angeles, the Dons entered the matchup with their squad missing only one player. They did make a few roster changes, however, adding a few JV players to bolster the lineup. These additions helped the Dons significantly in terms of changing out players when needed, as well as adding to their arsenal.
The game started off with Verdugo Hills having the initial kickoff, and The Dons jumped on Academia Avance from the very start and very quickly established their game. In the 5th minute, forward Angie Garcia Cortave scored a goal when she slipped through the defenders. Only a minute later, Cortave scored another goal with an assist from Calia Peterson-Henry. Not long after these goals Isabella Owen scored a goal of her own which had slipped right through the goalies hands into the goal. Going into halftime Verdugo held a 3-0 lead.
Going into the second half, due to the heat and as well as exhaustion from not having any games, nor practice, the girls of Verdugo Hills were battling cramping and dehydration. The Dons did not let this kill their efforts of still playing at their full potential. Going into the second half of the match many players had to sit out entirely from the match. In the 52nd minute of the match Owen scored again to make the score 4-0. The defense of Verdugo was on top of their game, not letting Academia Avance get shots off and putting constant pressure on the ball and giving it back to their offense. Late in the match Aolani Dominguez connected on a long shot from outside of the penalty area and put another into the back of the net. This strike made the score 5-0, and Verdugo Hills would ultimately win by that margin.
At the end of the game when coach Matt Nicchitta was asked how the girls played with the conditions they were in he stated, “With the heat coming down on us, as well as us being out of it for 2 weeks, the girls were still playing at 100%, we were able to adjust to it and take the win”. He also mentioned that the girls did a good job on marking their opponents and shutting down some of the key players of Academia Avance. Their next match is on Thursday at 9:00 am at L.A. Valley College. They then play again on Thursday at 2:00 pm.