Antelope Valley Press

Bulldogs open season with GL win over Falcons

By ALAN HENDRY Valley Press Staff Writer

PALMDALE — The Highland girls soccer team didn’t play like it was their first game of the season on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs did not suffer from any first-game jitters against Palmdale in the Golden League opener for both teams, instead Highland looked in mid-season form.

Highland scored three goals in the first 22 minutes and held on for a 3-1 victory over Palmdale at Highland High School.

Highland (1-0, 1-0) finished third in league last season with a 9-4-1 record, 11-5-1 overall, while Palmdale (1-1, 0-1) tied for fourth in league last year (8-8-6, 6-5-3) with Littlerock.

“I think we did really well in the first half,” Highland senior Jasmyn Stewart said. “The second half, we had a lot of injuries and we didn’t play as well, but we still got the win, so I’m proud of the girls.”

Stewart scored in the sixth minute from five yards on a cross pass at 10 yards from junior Janelle Torres, giving the

Bulldogs early momentum in the match.

“No. 1, Palmdale is a good team,” Highland first-year coach Barbara Vivas said. “The girls did an amazing job, but there’s a lot of improvement that we need to get together. They’re learning each other. They’re trying their best, which is awesome. At the end of the day, I think the more they play together, the easier it’s going to be to read each other. The key part is chemistry and right now we don’t have that. Overall, I’m very proud of what they’ve done today.”

The Bulldogs scored their second goal less than 10 minutes later, when sophomore Stacy Dreiling scored from 20 yards, putting the ball high over a leaping Palmdale keeper.

Highland scored its final goal seven minutes later, when Torres chipped in a shot from just in front of the goal on a loose ball from a throw-in by senior Tatiana Varner, giving the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.

“We all pushed each other and we all wanted to play for each other,” Torres said of the quick start. “Honestly, it’s our first game and there’s a lot to improve from this. This is just the start of it and we’re going to continue working and doing better.

“Palmdale (did a) great job putting in the effort and all that. Amazing on them. We definitely will get better from here. Against Pete Knight, our next game, it’s going to be a tough one. We’re going to work from that and on.”

Palmdale was able to answer in the 29th minute, as senior Angelique Villanueva scored from 10 yards.

“You know, we started off very bad, but then we made adjustments,” Palmdale coach German Aguilar said. “By the second half, that’s the way we wanted to play. We had our opportunities. We miss it. We just have to move forward from now. I think we’ll be able to compete with everybody. Obviously it has to be from the beginning to the end for the result.

“I believe we can compete. We have a good team. They just have to believe in themselves. And actually apply it into the field. I think it will be a good season for us.”

Palmdale defeated Palmdale Academy Charter 11-0 in its season opener on Nov. 14.

Both Highland and Palmdale had more scoring opportunities but couldn’t capitalize.

Torres had a free kick from five yards sail just high and wide in the 37th minute and Palmdale freshman Mia Hernandez had a free kick from 25 yards saved in the 40th minute by Highland sophomore goalie Izzy Martinez.

Mia Hernandez had a shot from 10 yards saved in the 48th minute and she hit the right post with a shot from 10 yards in the 53rd minute. She also had a shot on a free kick from 20 yards denied in the 69th minute on a leaping save by Izzy Martinez.

“Honestly, practice and working hard every day, in the morning,” Stewart said of the quick start. “The hard work showed.

“I think it’s the nerves, but I think that we executed well.”

Palmdale senior Andrea Davila had a shot from five yards deflected in the 55th minute, off a throw-in by Palmdale senior Janette Gutierrez.

Highland junior Cassidy Berrios hit the right post with a shot from five yards in the 63rd minute and Torres had a free kick saved by Palmdale sophomore goalie Ashley Galicia saved in the 66th minute.

Palmdale junior Katie Martinez hit the right post with a chip shot in the 74th minute.

Highland had a loose ball in front of the Palmdale goal, but wasn’t able to get a clean shot during the brief chaos in front of the net before Galicia covered the ball.

Torres had her last shot, from five yards in the 79th minute, saved by Galicia.

“It’s a learning curve, a learning experience,” Vivas said of the first match for the Bulldogs. “I think the girls pulled out what they could at this time and hopefully we get better every game. That’s all I can ask for, for the girls to try their best, that’s it.”

Highland has three seniors on the team.

“It’s a lot of new girls, a lot of freshmen, a lot of sophomores,” said Vivas, who was the junior varsity coach last season. “It’s a new team overall.”

Highland travels to Knight on Thursday. The Hawks finished second in league last season.

“That’s a tough one, straight off the bat,” Vivas said.

Palmdale will host defending league champion Quartz Hill on Thursday.

Aguilar said the Falcons have a young team.

“I have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so most of my core are freshmen and sophomores, which is good,” Aguilar said. “On each side of the field I only have three seniors. It’s good. It’s a good group. They’ve got to work on it. I’m happy with the second half.”





Alberta Newspaper Group