Any checklist to win a Peninsula Athletic League title has "beat the reigning champs” right at the very top.
Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Woodside's Gianna Rosati, left, heads home the Wildcats' first goal in a 2-1 win over Carlmont.
The Woodside High School girls' soccer team can now check that off its list.
The Wildcats jumped into the proverbial driver's seat Tuesday afternoon, defeating reigning PAL Bay Division champion Carlmont High School 2-1 to take a one-game advantage in the standings as the regular season nears its halfway point. Woodside didn't necessary squeak past the Scots either — the Wildcats controlled the majority of the game with Carlmont managing just four shots on net the entire game and the home white using a Lauren Holland goal in the 54th minute to secure the victory.
"We do have a lot of younger girls and they haven't experienced a game as tough as this,” said Woodside senior defender Randall Stafford. "And all I had for them was, play our game. Work as hard as you possibly can. Be aggressive and don't let them shove you. Be the good team we know we are throughout the entire game.”
"We knew that they were a fantastic team,” said Woodside coach Jose Navarrete of Carlmont. "We have a lot of respect for them. And they played with such persistency. We knew they were going to be on us. Fortunately, we got off to a pretty good start. We hung in there. It was ugly at the end but we hung in there. They're a very, very good team. We knew that we had to play 80 hard minutes just to stay with them. Although we were kind of fizzling at the end, our girls gave a great effort, a smart effort.”
It was an overall balanced effort by the Wildcats who did have to withstand a late-game flurry of scoring desperation by the Scots. But for the most part, Woodside's talent on the ball and especially in the midfield with players like Holland and Heather Seybert was superior to Carlmont's throughout the game — that, and the Scots had very little they could do defending Erika Negrete.
"I don't know if we've had a player here like Erika who, even with nothing left, will compete,” Navarrete said. "And you saw on that play (the winning goal), she made it happen on just sheer hustle. And she was able to get it to [Holland's] feet. And Lauren is very good turning in the box and we knew if we could get her two or three possessions like that she would get it (a goal).”
"It was really nerve-wrecking in the beginning,” Negrete said. "We had to push ourselves to do our best and win. I wanted to win this game really bad. It was really important.”
Negrete's hustle run down the left side drew three defender toward the outside edge of the penalty box. On No. 7's cutback, she sent a low cross over to Holland who received the ball, twice-touched it to her right foot and then poked a shot past the Carlmont keeper for the 2-1 advantage in the 54th minute.
The goal was much-deserved for a Woodside team who controlled the entire first half but surrendered a 35-yard marvel shot by Melissa Wood with seconds left in the period that equalized things at 1-1.
"Woodside was a better team, by far, in the first half,” said Carlmont coach Tina Doss. "They dominated us. And I needed my team to come out hard and respond at the start of the second half and they didn't. The last half hour, they decided to come alive and that's not, especially against a quality team and the quality players they have, it's not good enough.”
The Wildcats opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Holland fed Gianna Rosati on a corner kick to the far post that the big centerback headed into the net for the 1-0 score.
Aside from Wood's score late in the half, only Kayla Fong managed to get a shot on goal for the Scots and while Carlmont did its best to try and equalize late in the game, Doss felt the team lacked offensive build-up.
"We played defense today and we just can't play defense,” Doss said. "We have to attack and we didn't. We weren't attacking. We were hanging back and waiting for them to come at us. And, yes, we've always been a team that plays solid defense, but we've also been a team that takes risks and attacks and we didn't today.”
"I think the rivalry was in our head,” Stafford said, alluding to a couple of intense battles last season one of which saw the Scots win a game in the final seconds of action. "We knew we had to work hard to control the game in order to win because we knew Carlmont is great team. They have great athletes and we do too. So we had to prove to ourselves and to them that we can beat them.”