Photo by Shannon Rapose / Kern Valley Sun
By Tom Cormack
The Lady Broncs hosted their first match of the season against Wonderful College Prep Academy (Delano).
Kern Valley defeated them 4-0 to win their opener.
The Lady Broncs got off to a slow start with only one goal in the 30th minute of the first half as Rachel Driskell scored off a through pass by Katie Lamping.
The half ended with the Lady Broncs possessing the ball well, allowing Wonderful to develop only one shot on goal which was saved by Lexi Baker, but not able to finish their scoring opportunities. The halftime score stood at 1-0 in Kern Valley’s favor.
Kern Valley changed the pace as the second half began. They began to really press the offense with intensity, developing nearly one shot on goal per minute for 10 minutes. The attack pressure finally paid off when Driskell stole the ball and sent it to Jordan Allen who passed to Danielle Debski for the drive into the net upping the score to 2-0.
The Lady Broncs found their range and scored two quick goals in the last five minutes.
The first saw Arika D’Amico receive a throw in and passed it to Allen for the long shot to score. The second resulted from persistent attack as Ali Hansen stole the ball, passed it to Debski, who launched a shot on goal that was saved by the Wonderful keeper and parried back into play where Hansen collected it and scored.
The Lady Broncs traveled to the Polo Park in Bakersfield for the Liberty Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Kern Valley was placed in a pool with two division II schools, Garces and Highland and two division IV schools, Wasco and Golden Valley. The tournament promised to be a good proving ground for many of the young players since five starting veterans were out due to illness and injury.
On Friday, Kern Valley squared off with Garces High School for the first match. Keeper Baker was kept busy by the Lady Rams as they delivered 11 shots on goal which she saved.
Defenders Skylar Newton and Tayah Bushling relieved some of the pressure on goal as they blocked nine and three shots respectively. All told, Garces developed 23 shots that Kern Valley’s defense was able to nullify giving the Lady Broncs a very satisfying tie against a very good opponent.
The second match of the day against Highland was another tough one made doubly so as Baker was taken out with a knee injury eight minutes into the match as she dove for the ball and received a blow to her knee as the Lady Scots scored their first goal. Allen came out of the midfield, to take over the keeping duties. Though missed sorely in the midfield, she kept the goal with excellent form, delivering 13 saves over the remaining course of the match and setting up the Lady Broncs on the attack.
Still, the girls fought well and helped the rookies fill the roles that they were required to play, holding the Lady Scots to a 1-0 lead until the half.
Ten minutes into the second half Highland scored two more quick goals and transitioned into holding mode as Kern Valley fought to get on the board. One more goal at the end of the match would leave Highland with a winning score of 4-0 and a clear first place lead going into the second day.
On Saturday, the Lady Broncs faced a three hour drive to the tournament through Mojave and Tehachapi as the canyon was closed. In addition Baker was still out due to injury. Freshman, Mila Morgan stepped into the goal for the day to receive her first experience as goal keeper against division IV Golden Valley. Morgan ended up saving 10 goals with Newton blocking six more to leave the final score 3-0 in favor of Golden Valley.
For the final match of the tournament the Lady Broncs were matched up with Wasco Wild Cats. Morgan continued as goal keeper making four saves in the first half and two in the second half. The Lady Broncs started the scoring in one of the best attacks of the day as freshman, Haily Martinez chased down a ball headed for the end line, saved it and delivered a great drop cross to the back post where Kanchan Dhillon made a brilliant run to drive it into the net giving Kern Valley the lead four minutes into the game. The Wild Cats returned the favor five minutes later to tie the game 1-1, and the two teams battled in a fast break game with neither team scoring leaving the game tied at 1-1 at the half.
The second half continued as the first half ended until Wasco was awarded a free kick for a handball by Kern Valley and the Cats scored that Free Kick to take the lead. With only nine minutes left, Wasco scored leaving the final score at 1-3.
The Lady Broncs head coach Tom Cormack said, “This was a tough tournament against high quality competition with a number of hurdles thrown our way. Because of injury and illness many players were thrown into new roles, and rookies in their first season of high school soccer were expected to fill in for the missing veterans. The canyon closed giving us one of the longest road trips of our season and still the girls played with heart and intensity to the final whistle. In our best match of the tournament the girls made history by tying Garces High School. Throughout the tournament our new players had the chance to experience soccer action against some of the best teams in Kern County.”
Kern Valley played at home against McFarland on Tuesday and will home against Taft today.