Hounds can’t miss in second half

Blowout Panthers 5-1

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero High School girls soccer team (9-4-4) have almost wrapped up the first round of Mountain League play and sit in a good spot as the second half begins next week. On Friday night the Hounds dismantled the Pioneer Valley defense in the second half as they exploded for four of their five goals in a 20-minute span in the second half beating the Panthers, 5-1. Atascadero is currently ranked No. 9 in Division 1 of the Central Section of CIF, according to Maxpreps.com.

The Hounds started off the scoring explosion 18 minutes into the first half when sophomore midfielder Faith Rocha scored her first varsity goal. The Hounds drew a free kick on the side of the penalty box, between the box and the sideline, and elected to have Hailey Pires take the kick. Pioneer Valley elected to go with a three girl wall leaving them short on girls to cover the Atascadero runners and left Rocha wide open.

“I saw it coming and I was really nervous,” Rocha said of her goal. “And then I saw Hailey [Pires] and was like, ‘OK it’s go time’ and then just headed it in. Everyone was really excited and everyone just kind of jumped.”

Rocha put both hands up in the air as if she didn’t expect it to go in and was quickly swarmed by her adoring teammates. The Hounds controlled nearly all the possession and all of the pace but were unable to put together any more good runs in the first half and went to the break up 1-0.

Atascadero came out in the second half as if they were the team that was losing and quickly began pouring in goals from every spot on the field.

Pires added the Hounds’ second goal 18 minutes into the second half and only 10 minutes later Atascadero was up 4-0 as Cairo Murphy buried a putback from the top of the box and Kiana Subia sped past her defender with ease before depositing the ball into the lower corner out of the keeper’s reach.

“I think the start of the game we started out pretty strong and then began playing down to their level, but at the end we picked it up again,” said Subia, following the game. “I knew that I could go past that girl because I had done it so many times and it was kind of frustrating that I couldn’t get it into the goal but it was really nice being able to finish that one.”

Pires but the nail in the proverbial coffin a few minutes later when she struck a ball with such force that it went through the keeper’s hands and into the goal. A microcosm of the night for the Panthers that couldn’t get anything going even if they were in the right place at the right time.

Atascadero will finish out the first round of Mountain League play with St. Joseph on Tuesday night and, excluding an upset, should be 4-2 in league. The Hounds two losses came at the hands of San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande who are both undefeated, ranked in the top three in Division 1 of the Central Section and yet to play each other. The reason the Hounds should feel good about their third-place position in the league is because they played both the Tigers and the Eagles on the road already, meaning they will have their must-win games at home. If someone else in the league can hand one of those two teams a loss in the next month, and Atascadero can handle its business, the last two weeks of Mountain League play should be exciting.


© 2019-Atascadero News

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