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After tough fight Pack shares league title

They had an epic battle, but unlike the battles of antiquity, there were no tragic

heroes, no empires were lost, just two equally matched soccer teams that, after 100 minutes of play, had to settle for a tie.

As a result, the Claremont Wolfpack and the Glendora Tartans become co-champions of the Palomares League for 2016 after playing to a scoreless tie through regulation time and two overtime periods.

There were opportunities on both sides. The Pack is likely to relive the moment in the second overtime period when a solid shot from sophomore Janelle Gutierrez hit the goal post. For the Tartans it may be the late break away that drew Claremont goalkeeper Allison Bifone out of the net but a pass failed to connect with an open forward as the ball skittered out of bounds. Lexi Deahl also had a heart breaker late in the first half after she beat the keeper but saw her shot sail over the net

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“I thought that one [Janelle Gutierrez shot] was in, there were a couple of others that I thought were in, particularly in the second half—it didn’t go our way, that is the game, you have to take care of your chances,” Coach Tracey said. “Anyone who had the opportunity to finish would be the victor in this match.”

During halftime Coach Tracey told his team to “stay composed, hold the ball and know where everyone else is on the field and everything will come our way.” The girls took his advice to heart and came out with renewed energy, however, they were unable to get any shots to land.

Both goalkeepers, Bifone and Glendora junior Sarah Reyes, did a fine job, particularly Reyes who fended off a barrage of shots early in the second half from the motivated Wolfpack. Coach Tim Tracey characterized it as a game defined by the two teams defenders.

“I think it was a battle of the defenders for sure,” he said.

It was also a very physical game but the referee called very few fouls and got an earful from both sides of the field as a result. There were a handful of yellow cards and tempers did flare a bit as the game wore on.

Junior Zenani Dennis earned special recognition for her continuous hustle and standout forward Sophie Jones for her superb ball handling skills.

Coach Tracy also admitted that the two teams were very evenly matched.

“I thought so particularly tonight, they came out to play hard and we played equally hard. We had our chances but didn’t have any luck,” he said. “The game kind of wrote itself there in the second half. Bottom line, we were giving too many balls away, our forwards were coughing them up to their defenders and their defense is strong.”

With the tie the Pack goes into the playoffs as the number one seed and a home field advantage in the first round.

“I think these girls deserve it, they have worked hard all season” Coach Tracey said.

 

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com