Women's soccer receives wake-up call
The Lady Corsairs were unable to remain spotless in conference play this season as they fell to Pierce College's Lady Brahmas 0-2 in a game marred by poor passing and mental mistakes.
Santa Monica went into the contest coming off consecutive shut-out victories including a 7-0 effort against Glendale Oct. 5, but those were easily overshadowed by Pierce College's own 8 shut-outs on the season.
The tempo was set early on as the Lady Brahmas came out firing, taking three shots towards the goal in just the first two minutes of acion. As the game wore on, the Lady Corsairs were able regain their composure and attack the other end.
The first real chance for Santa Monica came in the 11th minute when a foul by Pierce led to a free kick within the penalty area. Olivia Patterson set up a nice chance for Gabriella Rodriguez, but the resulting header flew straight into the hands of the opposing goalkeeper.
Santa Monica conceded both of their goals in the first half despite dominating the overall time of possession. Pierce's first goal came off of a free kick chance in the 28th minute, and the second goal was later scored on a header by Briana Behrad.
Ten minutes later a deep pass by Pierce that should have been easily cleared away by the SMC defense somehow found its way into the back of the net. There appeared to be some confusion between the defenders and goalkeeper on whether or not the goalie could handle the ball. Amongst the tumult, a persistent Erica Vangsness of the Brahmas was able to capitalize and make it 2-0.
On the very next play of the game, Pierce goalkeeper Marissa Graska made a tremendous leaping save on a shot that could have easily altered the game. According to Pierce Head Coach Adolfo Perez, Graska, who ended up stopping five chances, is the "best 2 year college keeper in the nation" and is already being recruited by multiple schools. She is a force between the bars, and the fact that Pierce College has only conceded 2 goals on the season reinforces her coach's testimony.
However, Graska wasn't the only player making a noticeable effort in the game. The Pierce back line, led by Jennifer Venegas, was superb throughout the match. Many of SMC's offensive efforts fizzled as soon as they reached the sweepers, who seemed to suck up everything in their vicinity.
Despite the outcome of the match, SMC Head Coach Aaron Benditson believes that play on both sides was pretty even.
"I think we had spurts where we were really on top of them and waves of pressure where we really brought that intensity with us, and then it kind of died down at times," said Benditson. "Just being consistent with that effort for 90 minutes, they really need to be able to do that."
SMC is now 2-1-1 in Conference play and 3-2-5 overall.