Girls soccer: Matadors lose 0-2 in battle against Los Gatos

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Girls soccer: Matadors lose 0-2 in battle against Los Gatos

Yaamini Venkataraman

Forward junior Hadar Sachs (white #8) attempts to edge out her opponent for possession of the ball during the Jan. 11 game against Los Gatos High School. Sachs and forward senior Gabby Ley often faced tough pressure from Los Gatos’ strong back line of four defenders in the Lady Mats’ 0-2 loss. Photo by Yaamini Venkataraman.

 

Coming into the game with a 1-0-1 league record the Lady Mats hoped to add another victory. However, they suffered a difficult loss of 0-2 against Los Gatos High School on Jan. 11 due to their initial inability to communicate with each other.

“Certainly communication was a big part of it,” coach Alan Kute said. “You’re more successful when you talk to each other and you know what’s going on.”

Before the crowd displayed the “GO! MV GO!” banner, the Lady Mats were already battling in a fast-paced game. The first half started with a fast pace as the girls struggled to complete passes and settle the ball. Los Gatos played aggressively and communicated effectively, allowing players to complete passes and advance the ball down the field, further strengthening their already skilled back line and middle.

“Their heart of the team was in the middle,” senior Gabby Ley said. “They had most of the control, and they had a solid back line, so they would always clear it up. [The most challenging part was] trying to get through the back line, because it was me and Hadar, the other forward, against four of their backs.”

MVHS was often under pressure but managed to play through it. Goalkeeper senior Jessica Rahn blocked four shots, one of which left her hands and narrowly missed the goal. The Matadors created many opportunities of their own, including junior Casey Kute’s shot that was easily caught by the Los Gatos goalkeeper.

Junior Casey Kute loses her opportunity to take possession of the ball and trips. The Lady Mats’ 0-2 loss to Los Gatos on Jan. 11 was their first league loss. Photo by Yaamini Venkataraman.

Defensively, junior Mimi Akaogi led the back line with good blocks and agile turns. As the game progressed, the girls became more coordinated and learned to double up on defense to gain possession of the ball. With both teams’ forwards unable to clear the ball past the opposing team’s back line, the first half ended with a stalemate.

Minutes into the second half, the Matadors had more opportunities for scoring, but were unable to shoot aggressively and get the ball past the goalkeeper. The girls struggled to keep up with the fast-paced attacks and junior Cynthia Mao and Casey Kute were often put under heavy pressure. Los Gatos volleyed two more shots and missed both, one of which one ball bounced on and over the upper rim of the goal. Mao shot three times, working with the rest of the offense to execute plays from the sidelines.

Los Gatos broke the stalemate by scoring off of a throw-in from the left sideline. As Rahn scrambled to hold onto the ball, it slipped through her fingers, giving Los Gatos the opportunity to shoot multiple times off of rebounds and finally score, 0-1.

“Girls we need to raise our intensity! Let’s wake up!” Alan Kute said after Los Gatos scored.

In the last ten minutes of the game, the Lady Mats fouled and Los Gatos scored yet another goal off of the penalty kick, making the score 0-2. This second goal in the last 8 minutes by Los Gatos secured the Matadors’ defeat. Though there were many throw-ins towards the end and the girls continued grab at breakaway opportunities, they were never able to capitalize on their chances.

The game ended in the Matador’s first league loss. However, the team maintained a solid defense line throughout the game, and was pretty satisfied with the game.

“We played a good game; we played better than we did against Palo Alto,” assistant coach Greg Wendschlag said to the girls.

The team’s next game will be Jan. 13 against Homestead at 3:30 p.m. at Homestead High School.