Two goals in the first half helped Oak Ridge post a 3-1 win over Ponderosa in a Delta River League girls soccer game Thursday.
In the ninth minute, the Trojans (5-0-3, 8-3-5) got their quick start rolling when Megan Graham booted the ball from 10 yards into the net for a 1-0 lead. After that goal, Oak Ridge controlled the tempo of the game with its passing, but Ponderosa (0-4-4, 6-7-5) kept its defensive pressure on the Trojans.
“We definitely controlled the tempo of the game,” Oak Ridge coach Joe Champion said. “I was really pleased with our intensity. We dominated possession (of the ball).
Oak Ridge almost added another goal on a free kick by Brenna Palmer in the 15th minute. But Bruin goalie Alexa Gisin stopped the ball, and booted it back into play.
“We’ve been playing well in games, but we haven’t been scoring when we need to score, and today we did,” Champion said.
Rachel Ribeiro scored the Trojans’ second goal in the 33rd minute. After a series of moving the ball among teammates, the ball reached Ribeiro, who drove the ball into the net to make it 2-0. Hannah Miller recorded one of her two assists on Ribeiro’s goal.
Ponderosa head coach Greg Spangler felt his played good defense in the first half, but better in the second half.
“We talked about pushing the effort and the pace,” Spangler said. “It’s 2-0 at halftime, and you know you have to score a goal.”
The Bruins kept the ball near the Trojans’ net for the first five minutes of the second half. But the Trojans’ defense took control of the ball most times, and moved to midfield toward the Bruins’ net.
“We knew that, and we talked about that (at halftime),” Champion said. “Luckily we got the third goal, and wrapped it up.”
Oak Ridge’s final goal came in the 62nd minute on a free kick by Julia Crawford, with Miller registering her second assist.
Ponderosa’s only goal also came off a free kick. Alivya Wimmer fired the ball over a group of Oak Ridge players’ heads, and went into the net in the 77th minute of the game.
“They kept battling,” Spangler said. “It was a great strike by Alivya. That free kick was up.”
The Ponderosa-Oak Ridge contest was also the last league game. When the 2014-15 school year starts in August, Oak Ridge will play in the Sierra Foothill League for all sports, while Ponderosa returns to Division II as a member of the Capital Valley Conference. Spangler said he plans to play Oak Ridge in nonleague next spring.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Spangler said. “We are a Division II school. Being in Division I for four years was nice and competitive. We made the playoffs two of the four years. Played in the (Sac-Joaquin Section D-II) finals last year. We’re OK with the change.
The win keeps Oak Ridge in the hunt for the league title with big matches against Pleasant Grove and St.Francis this week.
“A big week to finish off to finish off between the top teams,” Champion said.