Lady Raiders keep up the pressure, top La Habra
Story and photos by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal
An intense match between the La Habra and Sonora girls’ soccer teams left one team soul searching and another in celebration.
After a scoreless first half, a score by Ashley Bordy proved to be the difference as Sonora defeated La Habra 1-0, Thursday afternoon at La Habra High.
Bordy’s goal occurred in the 46th minute when she collected the ball inside the box, and sent it right over keeper Katelyn Phinney’s head right into the net.
Both teams came in with specific gameplans, but Sonora executed well to earn the win.
“The girls could easily lose focus, (but) they kept to the game plan, they tried to play their game,” Sonora head coach Alex Bengard said. “When the time came for them to kick a ball, or do something they needed to do, they did it.”
The Highlanders were plagued by sluggish play and drive which opened the door for the Lady Raiders to seize momentum early.
“Today we were completely outworked, we showed no desire to win, we showed no pride in our team, no pride in our school, there was nothing extra,” said Matt Sanger, La Habra head coach. “Yeah, we were on the field and we were running around, but there was no reason for it.”
Sonora started strong and dominated possession early.
Before the game the Lady Highlanders wanted to attack and look to create chances. They expected to move the ball with pace and purpose, but instead struggled to string passes together.
Sanger moved Darriell Franklin from defense to the midfield in order to help ignite the offense, however, La Habra failed to execute.
“We moved the ball so slowly that by the time we got her the ball she was already covered by two girls,” Sanger said. “It was really everyone offensively, we had a plan coming in that our girls completely ignored. We wanted to spread the ball out. We wanted to move the ball quickly, and we didn’t do any of it.”
The Lady Raiders defended aggressively stepping to balls and pressuring the Lady Highlanders wherever they were. Sonora suffocated La Habra’s offense with pressure and eventually broke down the defense in counterattacks.
The Lady Raiders’ strikers consistently beat their defenders putting pressure on Lady Highlander’s keeper Katelyn Phinney.
Sonora created two chances leaving Phinney alone to stop the Lady Raiders’ attack. Phinney answered the call early, however was not so fortunate in the second half.
Sonora’s goal allowed the Lady Raiders to shift their focus to defense.
“When you play a game like this it’s kind of a chess match,” Bengard said. “Both teams are feeling each other out, and obviously once one team gets a goal … then there’s a complete shift because they’re going to push forward and we’re going to have to counter with solid defending. At that point it’s just who can execute the best.”
The Lady Raiders (6-7-5 ,2-1-1) picked up their second straight win in league, and will look to continue their success at home against Sunny Hills on Tuesday.
With the loss, La Habra fall to 1-3-0 in the Freeway League and 7-7-2 overall, however they have bigger concerns. “I told the girls it’s the most embarrassed and ashamed I have been since I’ve been a part of the La Habra soccer program. It’s an unwillingness to work,” Sanger said.
In addition to losing to their rivals, the Highlanders may have lost a vital part of their team. Darriell Franklin appeared to have injured her ankle after being tackled after a free kick.
Franklin exited the game with 15 minutes to spare and left to get her ankle looked at. Sanger mentioned she has had ankle issues before, and would not be surprised if she missed a few weeks.
The Lady Highlanders will visit Buena Park next Tuesday with the hope to bounce back. The Highlanders however proceed cautiously after their past few games.
“At this point I can’t discount any team in the league, Sonora is typically a team we can discount and we just got our butts kicked,” Sanger said. “We were going to try to put our game plan in place and try to keep the ball on the ground, keeping it moving, but if our attitudes don’t change we won’t be able to beat anyone.”