Women’s soccer team defeats 4th ranked Taft, 1-0

The Rio Hondo women’s soccer team defeated Taft college 1-0 on Sept. 30 at Rio Hondo and improved their preseason record to 7-1-1 in their final game of preparation before the beginning of the Foothill Conference on Oct. 10. Janeth Acuna scored her fifth goal of the season and the only goal of the afternoon after combining well with Alexis Marinero to give Rio Hondo the lead in the 17th minute.

The Lady Roadrunners began the game with great intensity from their front line who drew a double save from Taft’s goalkeeper in the opening minutes of the match. Central midfielder Cassandra Duran sent a through ball onto the path of forward Andrea Sanchez who dribbled the ball into the Taft area.

Sanchez struck the ball just as Taft’s goalkeeper rushed out of her goal to block the shot. Left midfielder Amber Davidson-Ponce quickly gathered the rebound and shot towards goal, but the Cougars goalkeeper laid out to deny the Lady Roadrunners once more. Rio Hondo created chances throughout the first half as Davidson-Ponce kept the pressure on Taft’s defense constantly running at them with quick pace and subtle trickery.

Minutes before the end of the first half Marinero supplied Davidson-Ponce with an excellent through ball to the left wing. Davidson-Ponce dashed towards the ball, controlled it, and crossed it to the near post, but the Lady Roadrunners failed to make a run towards the ball. In the second half, the Taft Cougars came out playing an aggressive brand of football but the Lady Roadrunners matched that physicality and earned the 1-0 win.

“Taft is a great team,” head coach Jennifer Tanaka said when talking about Rio Hondo’s victory. “They are currently ranked 4th in the North section so being able to earn a positive result against such a quality team was exciting.” When asked whether she considered physicality as one of her teams characteristics coach Tanaka answered, “We have goals to compete at our best every time we play and this includes all aspects of the game.”

Coach Tanaka felt that the team played well in all sections of the pitch and noted her central defenders ability to keep the clean sheet. “We felt our defensive unit did a great job to earn a shutout in the game,” Tanaka said. “Miranda Flores and Micaela Estrada continue to be a force in the air and this was a key in our success Tuesday.”

“Cassie Duran, Marrissa Lara and Maritza Acuna did a great job getting up and down the field. Alexis Marinero and Janeth Acuna combined well for the goal. Andrea Sanchez and Amber Davidson-Ponce continue to give teams problems in the attacking areas.” The Foothill conference figures to be one of the toughest conferences this season as it contains three teams who are ranked in the top ten in the California Community College Athletic Association poll including Cerritos college who are ranked number one overall.

The Lady Roadrunners, who are ranked 9th in the Southern section and 15th in State play their first Foothill conference game on Oct. 10 at Rio Hondo against Cerro Coso. Tanaka has prepared her team for the conference season and feels that they control their own destiny. “We are just working as hard as we can every day and we know that if we put in the effort, good things will happen. Our goal is to do our best and leave everything we can on the field.”