Santa Monica Women's soccer puts on clinic


A flag bearing skull and crossbones looming large against an equally ominous overcast backdrop usually acts as a foreboding sign, but the Glendale Vaqueros apparently didn't scan the Santa Monica skies before they were taken captive to the Lady Corsair soccer squad dominance in a 7-0 rout.

In a match where the final scoreboard flashed figures seen more commonly in softball, Santa Monica College came out guns blazing with six goals scored in the first half, three coming off of dead ball situations. The SMC offensive breakout started in just the 8th minute of the game last Tuesday when Jennifer Hager headed a well-placed corner into the back of the net.

The second goal came off another corner just five minutes afterwards, when players scrambled in the box for possession after a resulting header hit the cross bar. Sam Li was able to find some daylight in the confusion and buried another shot in the back of the net.

"We've drilled it into them many a time," said head coach Aaron Benditson when asked if set pieces were a focus of practice. "To know you can score a goal off of those situations is a positive thing and big confidence builder for teams."

If scoring off set pieces builds confidence, then the Lady Corsairs must have bordered narcissism as they scored four more in the first half. 

A yellow card came in the 36th minute when the Glendale goalkeeper challenged a streaking Sarah Barrington, and the foul set up a perfectly slotted free kick by SMC freshman Gabriella Rodriguez.

Some would argue that The Lady Corsairs displayed mercy by playing the second half against the Vaqueros without starter Santos "Mercy" Tejada. Tejada is quickly emerging as a standout, and continued to shine scoring two goals in the game while she out-played her defender in the first half. 

The Lady Corsairs highlighted their defense in the second half with a few memorable plays.

The best scoring chance for the Vaqueros came in the 75th minute when a shot on goal was saved, one-handed, by outstretched backup SMC goalkeeper Lauren Reichardt.

The "Mercy-less" Corsairs scored their last goal of the match in the 83rd minute on a play that started off in the SMC backfield. Patience and well-timed passes found a streaking Olivia Patterson who scored on the breakaway.

Even after the impressive performance Coach Benditson was critical of his team, feeling they underestimated the opponent early on and that there was a lack of concentration at points throughout the game. "Just playing a full-focused 90 minutes, in this game at least, we didn't achieve that," said Benditson.

Still, in the end the coach was a bit more gracious.

"When you're scoring a lot [of goals] and you're not conceding any; that's a good result," said Coach Benditson.

SMC came into this game with a shutout against Bakersfield and are undefeated in conference play with 2 wins and one tie. Their next game is Friday against Pierce College.