Bookend scores, tough defense gives girls soccer 2-0 win
Soccer can be a funny, quirky game. Quirky like controlling a bouncing ball one can only manipulate with their feet. Such was the case Wednesday night as the Claremont Wolfpack triumphed over rival Glendora, 2-0, at CHS.
While the score itself certainly does not raise eyebrows, soccer is notorious for its lack of scoring. In this game, it was the timing of those two goals coming like bookends on what otherwise was a stalemate between two well matched teams.
The first goal came just 40 seconds into the game, while the last found the net a mere 20 seconds before the final whistle. In between those goals was plenty of action, with Claremont dominating the momentum by keeping the Tartans on their heels all night.
Glendora also had issues with penalties, including three yellow cards and one red card. The frequency of the calls was a noticeable setback, particularly late in the game when the Tartans desperately needed to score.
Near the end of the second half, Glendora senior Sophia Zwick got the red card after drawing her second yellow card offense, a somewhat unusual occurrence even in a very physical game. Tartan Coach Steve Jimenez drew his own yellow card for arguing too vociferously with the referee. The final yellow was awarded to senior Sierra Reich.
Now, back to those goals. Glendora had the first touch, but Claremont quickly regained control and drove directly into Tartan territory, where following a mash-up near the net, senior Tyler Higuera passed to senior Janelle Gutierrez who tapped the ball in.
“We had a through ball, and the goalie misplaced it,” Gutierrez said. “One of our other players lobbed it in and I just finished it.”
The last goal came after a flurry of activity in front of the Tartan net, including a beautiful long shot by freshman Natalie Turiace that sailed just a little too high. But a few minutes later, during stoppage time, Turiace delivered an assist to sophomore Emily Maass, who dispatched her own strong kick, which found the net.
Glendora had a fair share of “what if” moments, perhaps the most remarkable being a Hail Mary boot from sophomore Tiffany Gomez that seemed to hang in the air forever, while Claremont goalkeeper junior Lauren Kunda watched helplessly. As the ball landed it nicked the top bar but, fortunately for Kunda, bounced out.
Wednesday’s match was a must win for the Wolfpack as they strive to retain first place in the Palomares League. A Claremont loss would have resulted in a tie for the Pack and the Tartans. Instead Claremont retains its undefeated status with a 7-0 league record, while Glendora falls back to 5-2.
Coach Tim Tracey was out of town for the game, so assistant coach Nicole Giles took the mantle. She was fairly matter-of- fact in describing the somewhat unusual game.
“Well, the girls were excited to get started, and we kind of settled in and relaxed a bit. But we don’t give up and that is why we got that last goal,” Coach Giles said. “Glendora is a good side, they were right behind us at 5-1 so this was necessary win for us and it keeps us in contention for first place.”
Claremont has a relatively young team, so it is somewhat of a surprise they are producing such great results. However, Coach Giles believes it is part of the alchemy.
“I think that when they are young they have a lot more energy and give a lot of effort,” she said. “Still we have really good leaders on our team, so the intensity of the younger girls with the leadership of the older girls means they are exceeding my expectations.”
To take the title, the girls need to win two of their three remaining games. The first is this Friday at Colony, followed by two home games first against Bonita on Monday and finally Ayala on Wednesday. The Pack could even go 1-2 and still share a title, assuming Glendora is perfect for the remainder of its season.
Claremont rocketed to second place in Palomares League play with two crucial wins over the week.
Last Friday the boys got a solid victory over Alta Loma, 78-65, at home. The Pack built a 13-point lead in the first quarter, which was fortunate because the Braves matched them point for point through the next two quarters. Claremont ended the game as they started it, extending their lead by an additional six points.
Senior Zak Lounis was the star of the evening with a game high 24 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Matthew Dirckx had 18 points followed by sophomore Sebastian DePrez with 15. Dirckx also had seven assists and six rebounds.
On Wednesday the boys had a tougher time, but still defeated Glendora, 59-54, at CHS.
Lounis was again the high scorer with 19 points, but it was a true team effort with three other boys, DePrez, Dirckx and Joshua Chen tallying 10 each. Lounis had a team high nine rebounds.
Claremont is now 5-2 in league and 11-14 overall. They will have an away game against Colony on Friday.
Girls water polo
Claremont tacked another Palomares League win on their undefeated record Tuesday, defeating Glendora, 21-8, in Glendora. The Pack is now 6-0, with a commanding lead for the league title with four remaining games.
On Thursday after press time, Claremont hosted Colony, which was also the girls’ senior night. Megan DePrez, Vanessa Gardia, Helena Sandhagen and Abby Torry will be honored as they play the last regular season home game of their high school careers.
The Pack had a mixed bag this week, defeating Alta Loma 62-14 but then losing to Glendora, 44-33, on Wednesday. Both games were at home.
Against Alta Loma, senior Gabi Watkins was the top scorer with 16 points, followed by senior Kaela Reisch with 14 and junior Jessica Andrada with 12. Watkins and senior Ella Nolte each had nine rebounds.