The Patterson High girls soccer team jogged onto the field for the last time this season on Thursday, April 17 at Patterson Community Stadium. For some, this would be the last game of their entire high school career.
Many of the players have been playing soccer for as long as 11 years, and many yet have spent all four years of high school playing as a Patterson Tiger. The game against Ceres was a special night for the seniors, and the majority of the players were ready to take the field for their final battle. The Tigers led the Ceres High Bulldogs 1-0 overall in the match, proving that their final victory would encompass their talents on the field.
The game was hard fought for the Ceres Bulldogs, who had a hard time trying to get the ball to the end of their field. But Ceres’ defense was just as tough as Patterson’s, and held the Tigers at bay for the majority of the game with consistent pressure.
Patterson passed the ball very well and made countless shots towards the goal on the offensive end of the field. With eight minutes left in the game, the Tigers finally scored their first and only goal of the evening by Patterson’s Karissa Cruz, causing the Bulldogs to fight even harder for a contest.
Cruz, a senior at PHS, seemed to be everywhere on the field at once. In the second half, Ceres turned away a shot on their own goal and sent the ball over to a fellow player. Cruz caught the play and stepped in front of the intended receiver, stole the ball with her feet and immediately kicked the ball into the net from at least 35 yards away, allowing Ceres little less than seconds to react.
Cruz, who will continue her soccer career for Los Palsetos College, said she knew what was going to take place on the Ceres’ team, and attempted to stop the play at all costs.
“I saw the ball coming and already had it planned out for a touch and shoot as fast as I could, and it worked out,” she said shortly after the game. “I was able to take them by surprise and the kick went it.”
For the next half hour, the Bulldogs steadily attacked the new senior goalie, McKayla Becerra, who had taken over the position for the second half of the game.
The game almost looked to be a close tie, but the Tigers held the Bulldogs off the net. At just less than three minutes of play left in the game, an unexpected high soaring kick was sent towards the Patterson goal from roughly 50 yards away.
As the ball was flying towards its mark, Becerra streaked over to the far right side of the goal, where the ball barely missed the far right post. It sailed out of bounds, a lucky feat for the Tigers.
The shot awoke the Tigers and fans alike. The match was well set, and Patterson was threatened to deliver great passes while battling constant attacks until the end of the game.
In the end, Patterson walked away victorious. The girls came off the field to cheers and applause from fans and parents alike. A total of eight seniors regarded their last home win as a wonderful memory.
Becerra, a senior, said what she would miss most out of the experience were her teammates.
Coach Cade Tomasegovich could only say how proud he was of his girls.
“They had quite a battle tonight from a team that obviously came here to win,” he said. “They battled tough, stayed with it and came out on top. I thought it was one of the toughest games of the year and good preparation for the playoffs that will begin the week of May 6th.”
The girls next game will be against Central Catholic in Modesto at 4 p.m. on Tuesday April 29. Playoffs will begin on May 6, 8, 14 and 17th.
The junior varsity girls had a much easier time in their game against Ceres, winning by a score of 3-0. Throughout the game, the Patterson team had not allowed one single shot through their net and the Tigers’ goalie never touched the ball.
Coach Shelia Ludwig said that it was their best game of the year.
“The passing and movement were awesome,” said Ludwig. “The pressure and playing as a unit were the best I’ve seen all year.”
The JV girls, with a record of 12-0-1, will get a chance to win the WAC title after spring break in their last game of the season against Central Catholic.
n Randy Sawyer is the temporary sports writer for the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at RandySaw1@gvni.com.