Hounds fall in OT to No. 4 ranked SLO


Defense holds Tigers scoreless in regulation

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero girls soccer team went toe to toe with one of the top teams in the section Tuesday night with both teams coming in riding five-game winning streaks. The Hounds were playing San Luis Obispo at home and held them scoreless through regulation and at times had the Tigers on the ropes but could not connect in the final third of field to score any points. SLO came into the game as the No. 4 ranked team in the division, No. 6 ranked team in the section and top team in the Mountain league with a 16-2-1 record.

The Tigers start a senior-heavy roster made primarily of one of the strongest local club teams in the area and have lost one league game in the last two years which came Jan. 8 in overtime to Arroyo Grande.

Atascadero almost got on the board early in Tuesday night’s game when the Tigers’ goalie miss hit a kick which fell right to the feet of senior Hailey Pires. Pires took a touch to get in position to shoot but was instantly swarmed by two defenders and was unable to get a shot off.

Shots were hard to come by for the Hounds who only recorded one truly dangerous attempt in the first half and it came with less than four minutes remaining. The Hounds countered a SLO attack and Pires played the ball off to sophomore forward Morgan Ramos who cut back on one defender and fired a left-footed strike from the top of the box that skipped into the lower left corner and into the arms of a diving keeper.

The Atascadero defense of Anneline Breytenbach, Mackenzie Wright, Sadie Cederlind and Taylor Kirk played fantastic while the and midfield of Faith Rocha, Cairo Murphy, Mackenzie Bryson made life tough for the Tigers as much of the possession in the first half was played right in the middle of the field.

“It was so fun to watch,” senior keeper Claire Lohayza said after the game. “It was probably the best game that we have had in league play. My defense held them so well, I’m not saying I was bored back there, I was into it, but I didn’t touch the ball too much and that is really good.”

Lohayza made multiple diving saves in the game but the best one may have come in the first 10 minutes when the Tigers counter-attacked off an Atascadero possession. The ball came down the visitor’s sidelines before it was struck toward the goal forcing Lohazya to get up and try to grab the ball but its force pushed it through her hands and against the top bar.

Lohayza continued to make saves in the second half as the Greyhound offense continued to struggle against the strong Tiger defense. After two 40 minute halves, the game was still tied at 0 with two golden goal overtime periods to come.

Just 20 seconds into the first period of overtime Lohazya made another fantastic save and quickly got the ball out to start the counter-attack. All of the stadium held their breathe as Pires navigated through a tired defense trying to get back. She weaved out to her right foot and fired a shot that sailed just inches over the top post.

The Tigers capitalized on the lull following the emotional high and earned a corner kick which they then used to score the game’s only goal.

“I think we played really well,” Breytenbach said. “We weren’t sure going into it and stuff but I think we all worked really well together especially in the midfield. The midfield really helped out and was able to take the ball away really easily and made it easier on us defenders and we worked really hard. Claire had an amazing night in goal and we just got a little unlucky there at the end. We all put everything on the field there isn’t a single one of us that is not tired because we all put everything on the field and left it there.”

Atascadero is now 13-5-4 (7-3 league), the Number 10 ranked team in Divison 1, on the season and currently in third place in the Mountain league behind 9-1 SLO and 8-2 Arroyo Grande.

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