For the Patterson Irrigator
Patterson High School’s varsity girls soccer team took the field at Patterson Community Stadium for the last time this season Tuesday evening, May 6. In an effort to gain a playoff standing, the local girls tried their hand, or feet, at battling the Yuba City Honkers for a tight, hard fought game that ended in double overtime. Despite the threatening battle, the Tigers were finally bested by the out-of-towners by a score of 2-1.
It was a tough game from beginning to end as the players dashed back and forth amongst the fray, knowing that one wrong step could mean the difference between advancing to the next playoff round or being knocked out of the competition.
Most of the first half was played with constant pressure being placed on the Yuba City goalie while only a couple of shots headed in Paterson’s direction. Those were easily scooped up by the Patterson goalie, Monique Garcia Bradley, who would then kick the ball deep into Yuba City territory.
The weather provided a few advantages for the Patterson players, as the wind at her back added distance to her already strong kicks. Yuba City had trouble clearing the ball from their end of the field, kicking into a strong headwind.
But the Honkers’ sophomore star, Natalie Baker, refused to give up points or deter her determination. She played tight in front of the goalie and was constantly turning the ball away. She single-handedly stopped 15 shots from getting close to the net, much to the Tigers’ dismay.
The first half of the game ended with 0-0 for either side.
Despite the tough defense earlier in the game, Patterson’s own Alexia Smith procured a goal for the Tigers’ shortly after entering the second half of the game.
But now it was Yuba City’s turn to have the wind aiding them as they relentlessly attacked the Patterson net.
Not long after Sandoval’s goal, the Honkers tied up the game at 1-1 with 15 minutes left in the second half.
Time was dwindling down, and both teams scurried to beat the clock with little progress. With eight minutes left, there was a hard kick made by Paulina Gonzalez of Patterson, only to be blocked by the Yuba City goalie.
While there was a lot of contact made by both teams the officials let them play with seemingly fair non-calls on both teams. That is until Patterson’s Karissa Cruz, one of the strongest players on the Patterson team, was called for an elbow, red carded and removed from the game.
What the referee thought he saw is very hard to understand, especially in light of the way the game had been called up to that point. Cruz, a general star for the team, was forced to sit out on and wait for the results of the game.
That seemed be the difference in the game. Though Patterson did threaten Yuba City several times with their great defense and offensive attack, they were repeatedly shown up by the Honkers’ goalie, who was diving to protect the integrity of her team’s stance.
After two exasperating and anticipating 10-minute overtimes, the game looked to be grueling and tiring for all. But, four minutes into the second overtime, a Yuba City player broke loose and dashed toward the Patterson goal.
In desperation the Patterson defender threw her body down trying to block the ball, but the player went around her and kicked the ball into the net to give the Honkers the lead and what turned out to be the winning goal.
The Patterson girls made a great showing and kept the game within reach, but with two very evenly matched teams, the team with the extra player had a huge advantage.
The girls had a great season with an overall record of 8-5-3 and a league record of 7-2-3.
Randy Sawyer is the temporary sports writer for the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at RandySaw1@gvni.com.