Scoring twice in the final minutes, visiting Galt rallied for a 2-1 comeback victory over El Dorado Tuesday night in Sierra Valley Conference girls soccer action.
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The Warrior win came after the Cougars gave Paris Coyne, Maddie Mathews, Alexa Grier, Jenny McCaughey, Wendy Villena, Ashley Beatty and Cindy Lopez a senior send-off. The seven, with a combined 21 years of experience in the El Dorado program, held the lead for 59 minutes though Galt repeatedly pushed the offensive envelope, especially in the second half.
“Despite their (Warriors) domination, we’re still disappointed to lose. Our intensity dropped in the second half but we held on — on another day this could have been a 10-1 loss,” Cougar coach Paul Kennedy said. “On the season we got better. The girls worked hard on the training field and improved … that’s all you can ask.”
Fighting for the playoffs, Galt was turned back on several early runs as Beatty, Lizzie Alexander, Trinidi Esparza and Kelsey Rothwell were on their toes in front of Coyne in the net. Two minutes in, an El Dorado counterattack stunned the Highway 99 squad when Alexander booted a pass up to Jesslyn Jana who staggered a run to the far corner and crossed in front of the box.
Warrior keeper Stacy Iniguez got a hand on the ball but was helpless as Taylor McKeand rammed home a follow shot to give the hosts the early advantage.
Galt’s initial pressure waned but it ramped back up for the final 40 minutes. Coyne, in her final home appearance, made save after save on blocks and challenges — several in one-on-one situations — but the Warriors’ relentless attack paid off with 19 minutes left as Paige Greorio sprinted toward Coyne with Villena a half step behind.
Coyne left her line and aggressively met both players on a diving save attempt but the trio and everyone else watched the deflected ball slowly bounce 20 yards backward into the empty net. Galt got the go-ahead goal with 5:25 left when Kassie Lizama’s corner wasn’t cleared and the Warrior senior captain hustled to the far post and muscled it over the line through a crowd of players.
“Galt brough good pressure from the sides but our defense did fantastic tonight. Everyone was out there to play so it’s a nice finish for the last home game,” said Coyne, who certainly earned that car her dad promised if she showed toughness.
“That first goal was rough. I went for it but she just got underneath a bit — seeing it bounce into the net is a real bummer. In the second, that’s the most pressure I’ve ever seen at the point (of the field). I dove in the right area but was a split second too late.”
El Dorado finished 2-4-1 at home and has a match at Union Mine on Thursday.