Login to Claremont COURIER

Pack takes second place in Holiday Tournament

The Claremont girls varsity soccer team won one and lost one on Monday on their way to a runner up finish in the 2015 Claremont High School Holiday Classic.

They started the day by defeating South Hills on penalty kicks in the semi final match, only to be out-maneuvered by a very quick Los Osos in a 3-1 loss in the finals. As a result the girls’ record now stands at 8-1-2 with league play still a few weeks away.

Claremont looked a bit disorganized during the first half of the South Hills game with a lot of simple mistakes, missed opportunities and poor passing. The Huskies kept control of the ball for much of the half but had their own struggles, most notably shooting at the net, and it looked like the girls would leave the field in a scoreless tie.

That all changed with less than a minute in the half when freshman Sophie Jones found herself all alone on the left side and was able to beat senior goalkeeper Alyssa Lopez to give the Pack the lead.

The second half began much as the first ended, however, the Pack seemed to fix their organization problems and began executing plays more effectively. Nevertheless, the Huskies, sensing the loss, started to play more aggressively putting pressure on Claremont’s defense.

During one such play, senior goalkeeper Sydney Fortson stopped one shot on goal only to have the ball pop out in front of the now undefended net. As South Hills’ Amber Marinero took another shot, Claremont defender Ashley O-Toole slid in the way to deflect the ball.

Unfortunately for the Pack, she was called for a handball, giving the Huskies a free kick in front of the net, and senior Hailey Zerbal had no problem beating Fortson for the tie.

And that is where the score remained as regulation time ran out and the game came down to a shoot out.

In penalty kicks the Huskies had more shooting problems with two shots going wide, however, credit also has to go to Fortson for blocking a shot from Alina Cobian. The final score was 1-1 with the Pack winning 3-1 on kicks.

In the finals the Claremont Team was clearly out-played. A strong offense by Los Osos kept the Pack running back on defense all day. The Grizzlies did a great job of connecting forward passes and getting the ball in front of the net. As a result, even with great defensive play from the Pack, it was just a matter of time before Los Osos scored.

Claremont did put together some nice offensive play too, certainly much better than during the South Hills game. The Pack got their one goal at 54 minutes of play when Jones connected a cross-field pass to senior Karsyn Jordan who kicked a beautiful high shot into the left corner of the net.

It was a big day for the Pack’s defense, anchored by two stellar performances from Fortson who delivered one great save after another. She also did a good job of slowing the pace when the girls needed a regroup. Sophomore defender Hope Hyland also played a key role by repeatedly breaking up scoring opportunities from the Huskies and the Grizzlies.

“Our girls looked tired, we have played a lot of soccer,” said coach Tim Tracy remarking on their early schedule which included 10 games since December 7th.

“We are young with three freshman and all the sophomores, but we also have a great senior class. Their leadership is good, the example they set in training, the [other] girls emulate that. So far it’s been a really enjoyable year and a enjoyable team.”

The Pack’s junior varsity team, led by coach Joanna Cantelletta, defeated South Hills 1-0 in the finals to take the JV championship of the Holiday Classic.

“They all stepped up and got the job done,” she said.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com