SHINGLE SPRINGS — As expected, Tuesday’s Oak Ridge at Ponderosa girls soccer match was competitive, exciting and physical. After 80 hard-fought minutes, the Bruins emerged 1-0 victors to split the season series with the Trojans.
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Both coaches — Oak Ridge’s Joe Champion and Ponderosa’s Greg Spangler — understood the importance of the intra-county clash and both teams came ready to play.
Oak Ridge struck first on a Marissa Ribeiro-Brenna Palmer-keeper Nina Grimes-Carissa Rivers link but Rivers’ shot was caught by Ponderosa goalie Jenna Hufford.
Toward the middle of the first half, Oak Ridge tightened its defense and gained momentum for its possession-style game. As the midfield controlled the ball, the Trojans took multiple shots against Hufford and the Bruin defense. While the physicallity and tenacity of both rose to the forefront, the scored stood 0-0 at halftime.
The second half started with Ponderosa’s Xandra Newell heading the ball to McKenna Dunn for a shot Troy keeper Nina Grimes corralled. In the 15th minute, Bruin Sydney Rivera sent a ball outside to Dunn who passed to Sammi Fowler for a cross to Selena Brewer. Grimes blocked Brewer’s inital offering and her return but couldn’t stop Brewer’s follow-up.
“It felt amazing … I never gave up. I just kept pushing and pushing until it happened. All I could think was, ‘go Bruins!’” Brewer said of her score.
The game pressed on as both teams tried to take advantage of opportunities. Oak Ridge had the next chance with a corner kick taken by Marissa Ribeiro that went long. In the last 10 minutes, Ponderosa’s Amanda Maiello had several attempts — a breakaway Grimes stopped and a header off Alivya Wimmer’s free kick that Grimes also got as the clock wound down.
“Our team played fantastic tonight. Our back line four, Erica Estes, Brittany Gisin, Ashlynn Johnson, and Alivya Wimmer were solid and played great defense while our goalkeeper, Jenna Hufford had a great game in goal,” Spangler said.
“Tonight’s game was a close game. Ponderosa knocked us off our rhythm where we would pass normally and not feel so rushed. It was an intense game. I was a little disappointed with our performance as we were not able to play with lots of possession but both teams fought hard,” Champion said.
Ponderosa’s JV girls team also won tonight 3-2 against Oak Ridge.