The Dons Return and show Determination to Win
Wednesday afternoon Verdugo Hills Dons returned to play after last week's sports pause order by Los Angeles Unified School District due to the rise in cases of the Omnicron variant of COVID-19. LAUSD decided to resume all sporting events but is restricting the amount of spectators in these events until further notice. The Dons took a visit to the Mustangs of Arleta High School for an East Valley League rivalry matchup in girls soccer.
Coming into this game, coach Matt Nicchitta was slightly worried about the Dons’ energy after the week break of play. Any time off can be critical for the Dons because they have been performing well and have been keeping up with the competition. The Mustangs only had enough players on their roster for a varsity team and did not field a JV team. Verdugo took advantage of this and added some JV players onto varsity for this game, to not only give them some game experience, but to help keep everyone fresh after a long layoff.
The game started with the Dons having the initial kickoff and they put pressure on the Mustangs immediately. Verdugo Hills managed to keep the ball in their possession and pushed the play offensively. Angie Garcia Cortave scored the first goal for Verdugo in the 8th minute. Cortave did not stop there, in the 15th minute she scored another goal due to the goalie struggling to get a hold of the ball. Just two minutes later, Nayely Moreno scored a goal of her own with a long shot from the edge of the penalty box. Isabella Owen scored the Dons fourth goal in the 24th minute. After multiple shots were attempted and blocked, she managed to get a hold of one and score the goal for her team. After these 4 goals, Arleta managed to hold off the Dons and did not allow them to score for the rest of the first half.
Coming into the second half, Verdugo was determined to keep the pressure on and keep the offense rolling. The Dons managed to score another goal coming shortly after the kickoff of the second half. In the 44th minute of the match Cortave scored the 5th goal for Verdugo and the 3rd goal for herself, completing the hat trick. With a lead in the second half, coach Matt Nicchitta made substitutions in order to let all the Dons get an opportunity to play. The Mustangs did not allow them to score for a very large portion of the second half however Verdugo did manage to score another goal in the final minute of the match. Hailey Mejia had served a corner kick which was deflected by the goalkeeper back to her and Mejia managed to score a goal from nearly at the corner marker. After the goal and Arleta’s ensuing kickoff after a goal, time was called by the referees, ending the match with the score of 6-0 for Verdugo.
The next match for Verdugo will be on Friday January 21, when the Dons travel to take on the Huskies of North Hollywood High School.