Lady Corsairs soccer tie Bulls
A strategic flourish from Lady Corsairs coach Aaron Benditson has left reporters to wonder if he had prepared a special defense for the game against Pierce College. In actuality, both teams put in a stellar defensive performance, and after 90 minutes of play, the game ended in a 0-0 draw at Corsair Field last Tuesday, Oct. 11.
The Santa Monica Corsairs (4-5-3) were coming off a two-game winning streak and were looking to bring their Western State Conference win total to 3-0-1 against the Pierce Bulls (8-3-2).
“The effort was fantastic,” said Benditson, although he also expressed that he felt his team struggled offensively.
Forward Desire Kober, midfielder Sara Barrington, and Oliva Patterson dribbled the ball well for the Corsairs, stretching out the Bulls’ defense down the sideline. Despite the early attack, the Corsairs were unable to connect on their lead passes and lost opportunities.
Defense is where the Corsairs’ shone. They were lead by defender Yaya Godinez, whom Benditson called a “Fantastic athlete,” and goalkeeper Katherine Alvarenga.
“She definitely kept us in the game,” said the Corsairs’ captain, Patterson, about Godinez. “She worked her butt off and I’m proud of her.”
While the offense struggled, Corsair Alvarenga made sure the score stayed even. Her first save of the match came in a dramatic fashion, as she lost control of the ball after hitting the turf, but was still able to recover it in traffic.
“We put her in a tough position with our first-year keeper having left,” said Benditson. She was learning in this game.”
Alvarenga had another dramatic save in the second half - punching the ball up and over the crossbar with 33 minutes on the clock.
“She came up with a big save on a free kick that kept us in the game,” said Benditson. “She’s doing great.”
At the 70-minute mark, fans got a scare when the Bulls’ Edith Dominguez and Gabby Rodriguez of the Corsairs collided head to head after both players jumped for the ball. They remained on the ground for a few minutes, but luckily the two were well enough to walk off.
With five minutes remaining in the match Corsair midfielder Briana Mackey had the go-ahead shot on goal, but the ball was deflected out of bounds leading to a SMC corner kick.
In a strange turn of events, a yellow card was given to Bulls’ head coach Adolfo Perez shortly after the corner kick for making too many sideline comments.
The call would not impact the match, however, and even though SMC spent the last three minutes of stoppage time in Bulls’ territory, they could not get a shot on goal.
“I think we were afraid to open up against this team a little bit, just for the fear they’re quick on the break,” said Benditson. “They’re fit, they have a couple of dynamic players that run at you and create a lot of havoc. It was a fair result.”
“We accomplished what we wanted to, but we didn’t necessarily get the result we were looking for.” said Patterson. “But a tie is nothing to hang our heads about - I’m proud of my team.”
The Corsairs’ next home game is Tuesday, Oct. 25 at Bakersfield College.