By Andy Bays/ Contributor
In a hardscrabble bout against the solid Hartnell Panthers women’s soccer team, the City College Rams wore down their Salinas Valley foes in a crushing 5-1 victory on Oct.2.
“It took about thirty minutes to find our rhythm, because Hartnell is tough defensively,” Head Coach Gabe Saucedo said. “They were really packing it in (defensively).”
About 15 minutes into the first period, Hartnell, who has won its last four games in a row and entered the arena with a 4-2-1 record, scored the first goal of the game with a deftly maneuvered shot that passed through several Rams defenders.
The contest continued, and for the next seven minutes every Ram effort to lay siege to the Panther goal was decisively stymied, until Sydney Alvarado hit a precision kick to tie up the score at 1-1.
For the next 15 minutes, the two teams battled on passionately as the Hartnell Panthers systematically disrupted Rams’ attempts to get within striking distance. The tables began to turn, however, when Katrina Voris sent the ball flying from the 50-yard line to Alejandra Sanchez, who slammed it into the Panther goal from five-yards away.
About seven minutes into the second half, a corner shot delivered to Marianna Aguirre was driven as a line drive into the Panthers’ net. At that point, exhaustion and battle fatigue began to consume the outmatched Hartnell squad, and the Rams began to hit on all cylinders.
Nineteen minutes later, Paloma Zermeno had what was probably the play of the game when she twisted her way through a crowd of Hartnell defenders from the 40-yard line to sink a goal past the Panther goalie, who dived across the turf to come up short. Shortly afterward, a quick-footed Haley Rivers pummeled the ball into the net, bringing the score to 5-1.
“I thought we played really well as a team,” said Katrina Voris, as she munched on a celebratory post-game buffalo wing.
Nearby, Jazzlene Herrera chimed in: “They were a strong team, but we did what we were supposed to do. We have a strong chance of being conference champs, in my opinion.”