Women's soccer takes draw
The Santa Monica Lady Corsairs' fourth pre-season game was one to watch as it ended in a gritty 2-2 draw versus the San Bernardino Valley Wolverines. The stalemate was a big morale booster heading into the new season, as their opponent just tied previously with last year's state champion. San Bernardino Valley opened the scoring with a beautiful shot over the goal keeper. The score was a complement of the Wolverines' superb passing game that allowed them open more in the middle, thus creating more chances on the wing. SMC had very few chances in the opening half, not because of lack of effort, but rather because of the defensive tenacity of the opposition.
Sophomore Evelyn Calderon provided the "X" factor for the Wolverines with her legion of long distance bombs that either rebounded off the crossbar or came painfully close to being on frame. This in turn forced SMC's defensive end to keep things tight, and indirectly caused them to have very few opportunities on goal.
The Corsairs would do some damage before the midway point, however. A late corner kick by the home team led to a ping pong-esque series of events; the ball ricocheted from the goalie's hands off of a save to the crossbar before finally finding the back of the net.
The goal in the last few minutes of the first half gave SMC a much-needed boost in confidence entering the second half, and it showed as the second half the Lady Corsairs came out playing tough and aggressive.
When asked about the momentum swing, Head Coach Benditson said, "Both teams were fighting and we showed a lot of resilience."
The Corsairs would be plagued by injury throughout the second half, which Coach Benditson expressed his concern over. When asked about the officiating, he commented, "I think they could have done a better job protecting our players, I think they could have managed the game better and that's what forced the game at times to get out of hand."
San Bernardino eventually would respond with a flurry of passes that led to a shot right in front of the goal, giving them the lead 2-1. The Wolverines would continue to keep the pressure on, serving up several dangerous balls that were luckily cleared by the defense; sophomore Caitlyn O´Neill was especially pivotal and proved to be a presence on the defensive end as she cleared many threats.
In the end it would be the Corsairs' resilience that would define them. Freshman Lindsay LaBarge supplied a late goal off of another corner kick, equalizing the score at 2-2. LaBarge felt good about the goal, saying, "It felt really good. It was my first college goal and I think the team felt really great about it because these girls last week tied the state championship winner and they were undefeated."
This game was a big improvement from last week's, something which both players and coach could agree on.
"This game we had our heads in the game the entire time, but towards the end of the last game we fell apart a little, and this time the whole team stayed concentrated," said LaBarge.
Coach Benditson reaffirmed this saying, "Well obviously we didn't lose, we scored two come-from-behind goals, we came back, and we fought back. It was a good result for us. I was so happy for the girls."
In regards to the fact that SMC was missing 3 starters, they matched up extremely well and pulled off a great result. The upcoming season will be very promising with these talented girls playing the way they played on Friday.