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Prep soccer: Sticking with it

Canyon scores two unanswered goals to draw with Stockdale

Posted: December 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Canyon's Kelsi Howard kicks a shot toward Stockdale High's goalkeeper that went just over the goal in the first half at Canyon High on Friday. The teams tied 2-2.

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It would have been easy for the Canyon girls soccer team to give up, down two goals after a half without being able to find the back of the net.

But on Friday night at Canyon High School, the Cowboys were persistent, and that effort twice paid off in the form of second-half goals to highlight a 2-2 draw with visiting Stockdale of Bakersfield.

Down 2-0 after goals by Marriah Perez and Kaitelyn Thatcher in the first half, Canyon used a possession offense, highlighted by through balls over the top to streaking forwards Vanessa Quintero and Mari Kniesel.

“That’s the idea. We’re looking for opportunities over the top, but we possess the ball as much as possible,” said first-year Canyon head coach Derek Rusk.

That paid off in the 55th minute, as Kendall Bietsch sent a cross from the corner into the box for a waiting Alissa Munguia.

Munguia dribbled around a Stockdale defender and chipped in a shot over the goalie to pull within one and seize the momentum.

“It’s important to score because you want to make the comeback being down 2-0. You have that need to score one,” Munguia said. The mind set was “to just play together and not give up. Once you start to give up you’ll keep getting scored on.”

As it so often does, being up 2-0 came back to hurt the Mustangs (5-2-2).

“That was the last thing I told them, ‘It’s 0-0.’ (2-0’s) the ugliest score you can have,” said Stockdale head coach Janien McGowan.

Canyon (1-4-1) tied things up midway through the second half on a goal from Kelsi Howard, who put the ball past the goalkeeper from just in front of the net.

“We’ve been working on a couple of things offensively that are starting to come into play,” Rusk said. “Stockdale’s a very solid team. We were a little flat in the first half. They had a lot of speed up top and at halftime we made adjustments that helped us.”

The Cowboys started the season 0-4 after finishing in fifth place in the Foothill League last season. But they have a win and a tie in their last two matches heading into next week’s Hart High tournament, and Rusk and his players feel things are starting to come together.

“Once we started to play together more as a group, we’re starting to connect better as a team,” Munguia said. “Adjusting to a new coach is hard, but as we start playing together it’s getting easier.”


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