SHINGLE SPRINGS — Host Ponderosa tallied twice in each half Monday to defeat Union Mine 4-0 in girls preseason soccer action.
The first score came less than a minute in. The Bruins still held the opening possession in the Diamondbacks’ zone when Ashlynn Johnson’s side throw-in found Amanda Maiello who passed to Samantha Fowler in the box. Sealing her mark on one hip, Fowler turned to the other for a quick, point-blank shot that Union Mine goalie Becca Elliott had little chance to stop.
“I was good positioning and I knew where the defender was, turned and hit a quick shot before the keeper could react,” Fowler said.
Ponderosa controlled the flow the first 40 minutes but Elliott and the D’back defense led by Tori Pearson and Kinsey Del Rio, battled Fowler, Erica Estes, Selena Brewer, Alivya Wimmer and various Bruins taking aim on goal.
Estes doubled Ponderosa’s lead late in the half on another goal Elliott shouldn’t have faced. Sydney Rivera’s cross sailed to the weak side where Zandra Newell bodied a pass to Estes in the box for an easy one.
“The team played well and spread the middle but we did struggle with the weight of our passes which were too heavy,” Bruin coach Greg Spangler said. “We expected a good match from Union Mine — last year it was only 1-0.
Elliott had the defensive gem of the afternoon at the near post. The senior went to the ground to thwart one challenge, sprang back up and somehow deflected a return rocket out of play — a stop the D’back side discussed long after the match ended.
“I looked up just as I stood up, the ball was coming and I just went for it,” Elliott said. “You could probably call it a combination of luck and adrenaline.”
Union Mine’s best chance came on Jimena Jovel’s steal and pass to Anika Lehr. Ponderosa keeper Allannah John laid out on her challenge to force Lehr to adjust her shot that rolled wide.
Though the D’backs played well in the first part of the second half, the Bruins added two late goals. Rivera slid a pass to the middle for Elena Hanson’s run-on floater that settled out of Elliott’s reach under the crossbar. The final score came as Maiello’s shot in the middle glanced off a D’back and into the net.
“We were really flat in the last 15 minutes but considering their Division 1 and we’re Division 4, I thought we played well,” Union Mine coach Teri Akers said. “We were trying to run fast to the ball and be aggressive but they’re an extremely strong team.”