By Scott Warden
With the wind swirling on a bright and sunny afternoon in El Dorado Hills the Oak Ridge and Ponderosa girls soccer teams renewed their rivalry Wednesday and played to a 1-1 draw.
Ponderosa was coming off a big 5-0 shutout over Pleasant Grove in its Delta River League opener Monday.
“We have a real solid team and tremendous depth,” Bruin coach Greg Spangler said. “We’ve played a lot of preseason matches and are looking forward to doing well in league. As for today, this is always a tough game that just comes down to who wants it more.”
The Trojans didn’t fare as well in their league opener, dropping a 4-1 match to Sheldon.
“We were missing some players, were a little injured and played with only 11 on Monday so it made things a little tough for us,” Oak Ridge coach Henry Reis said before Wednesday’s game. “Our team will be competitive in the new league and today will be a good test for us. This game is always a tough environment for both teams and always a good match.”
Ponderosa controlled the tempo early but couldn’t capitalize. On the other end, Oak Ridge used a counterattack to score a first-half goal and held the lead until halftime. The Bruins tied it up midway through the second half.
The wind was a factor, interfering with the usually crisp passing and possession-style of soccer both teams rely on. Bruins Michelle Kimball and Kennedi Fox fired some hard shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, but Trojan goalie Nina Grimes got the saves. Oak Ridge defenders Paige Oakazaki, Amanda Stickelmann, Caira Woo and Julia Crawford stifled the Bruins’ attack for much of the game. The Bruins were equally strong with Jennifer Weber, Breana Duhamel, Natalie Hanson and Brittany Gisin along with keeper Jenna Hufford clearing everything upfield.
At the 25-minute mark, Troy took advantage of miscommunication among the Bruins as Carisa Rivers gathered a pass from Mandi McBroom and fired a soaring shot from the top of the box that sailed over the outstretched arms of Hufford.
“Once we scored the goal and got the lead our team was happy and didn’t play the second half with the same amount of intensity. Next time we will play a better and more complete game,” McBroom said.
The Trojans continued to control possession in the midfield behind Jacqueline Hitchings, Taylor Cami and Marissa Ribeiro but a Trojan foul on a Bruin counterattack gave Aubrey Wimmer a free kick from the top of the box. The junior made a solid strike and put the shot just under the frame and over keeper Ashley Pearl, who had taken over in goal for the second half, to knot the match at 1-1.
“We played pretty well today and I was so glad that shot went in. You never want to tie but we didn’t lose. Next time I really want to beat Oak Ridge,” Wimmer said.
Shots from both teams in the final 15 minutes hit the frame or sailed high. leaving the teams tied after 80 minutes of play.