Lady Broncs soccer team upset by Cowboys in CIF-CS semi-finals

Photo by Audrey Martinez

By Mike Blake

Riding the wave of a five-game winning streak (and six-game unbeaten streak) the Kern Valley High School girls soccer team’s season came to an abrupt end when the Lady Broncs were upset by Riverdale 4-2 in a CIF Central Section Division VI Girls Soccer Championships semi-final match February 20 on KV’s home pitch.

The No. 13-seeded Riverdale Cowboys improved to 12-11 and the No.1-seeded Kern Valley Broncos finished their season at 13-6-1. Riverdale advanced to the finals against the No. 2 Caruthers Blue Raiders (13-14-3), who eliminated No.3 McFarland (15-11-5) 3-1. Caruthers played to form in the finals and won the CIF-CS title with 6-2 win over Riverdale.

Riverdale scored 96 goals this season and the Broncs finished with 59. Broncs defense did a great job stopping the Cowboys’ scoring machine in the first half and took a 2-1 lead into the locker room.

Alex Armes Photo by Kayley Sietsma 

The Broncs got their scoring from freshman Tearah Moore and senior Tami Mondragon and got an assist from junior Alex Armes. Freshman goalie Scarlett Weber was credited with 12 saves and kept the game close.

The Cowboys attack woke up in the second half and their leading scorer, senior Michelle Zarate, who has 41 goals and 18 assists this season, lived up to her billing and put the ball into the net, while Riverdale senior Natalie Gomez, who has scored 12 times and has dished out 32 assists this season slammed in a goal and chipped in with two assists to turn a Bronc advantage into a Cowboys victory. The Cowboys put 16 shots on net and Zarate led the assault. Kern Valley girls soccer coach Paul Armes said, “We didn’t have the greatest game but were ahead most of the time. Their size and shots ended up being too much. They had a girl with 41 goals (Zarate) and a girl with 32 assists (Gomez) and they ended up being too much. “

Kassandra Guarneros Photo by Kayley Sietsma

The game might have turned out differently had things that affected KV’s top two scorers, gone the Lady Broncs’ way. “There was rough play,” Coach Armes said. “Alex Armes got literally knocked out, and then Aspen Hacker got a yellow card. That definitely had us scrambling at times.” 

Coach Armes gave a special shout out to Weber. “Our Player of the Game is definitely our freshman goalie Scarlett Weber,” said the coach. “She played left wing all season and had to step up to goalie for the CIFs. She had some amazing saves to keep us in the game.” 

The Broncs, who finished their High Desert League season in third place with a 10-3-1 record, outscored their opponents 59-28 on the season and were led by junior Aspen Hacker with 19 goals, Armes with 10, Weber with five and senior Alaina Check with five, among 13 Lady Broncs who scored goals this season. Armes led KV with 18 assists, senior Kayley Sietsma dished out 10 helpers and junior Kass Guarneros chipped in with three assists on the year.

Payton Forbes Photo by Kayley Sietsma

Coach Armes reflected on the season and even with the interrupted post-season run, he was enthusiastic about the results. “We had a great season,” he said. “We actually achieved all my goals (I should’ve aimed higher). We wanted third or better in league, make the CIF playoffs and advance at least to the semis. We accomplished all of that.” 

Coach Armes said the team improved their record from 7-9-1 and missing the CIFs last year, to 13-6-1 and losing in the semis of CIF this year. “I couldn’t be more proud of all of them,” Coach Armes said. “Next year looks just as good or better; we have some solid freshman coming in and have the experience of this year to motivate us. We are going to miss our seniors Kayley Sietsma, Mitra Kiosef, Tami Mondragon, Nia Diaz and Alaina Check.”

The Broncs are expected to have as many as 11 returning players next season, while the five seniors mentioned above will graduate, and Coach Armes expects solid contribution from several incoming freshmen.