Look to rebound against Paso Tuesday night

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero girls soccer team started the season on a roll at 5-2-2 but have struggled just a bit at the start of Mountain League play following the two weeks off for winter break. Friday night, the Hounds hosted the Righetti Warriors at Memorial Field with a chance to join a four-way tie for first place with Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles and Righetti but fell 2-0. 

It was a brisk evening at Memorial Field on Friday night and only the Hounds fourth home game of the year but it was not a night that the girls brought their “A” game. Righetti started the scoring in the first half in fantastic fashion when one of their girls had a ball bounce to her feet from just a few yards outside the corner of the 18-yard box where she powered it into the opposite corner of the goal on the top shelf for the highlight-reel score. 

Atascadero junior Lilly Allen cuts back on her opponent during the Hounds game on Friday. (photos by Connor Allen)

The Greyhounds girls didn’t play poorly but seemed a little off and could not connect in the last third of the field. Atascadero struggled to generate a quality shot for most of the first until senior forward Taylor Kirk made something happen. Playing on the left side, Atascadero’s own energizer bunny continually made runs down the sideline and was finally rewarded with the ball, cut back on two defenders and took a shot but missed it high. 

A few minutes later, Kirk found herself again in scoring position, this time with a nice pass coming to her from sophomore wing Lilly Allen but just missed again. 

The Warriors also did a great job of swarming Atascadero’s Morgan Ramos anytime she found the ball at her feet. 

The majority of the game was played between what would be the 30s on a football field as possession was constantly switching back-and-forth like a beachball in the bleachers of a professional baseball game. 

Atascadero’s Taylor Kirk prepares to rip a shot from 15-yards out.

The score was 1-0 at halftime and the second half was a lot like the first in that the Warriors were able to convert their best opportunity while the Hounds could not. 

Since the two-week layoff, the Hounds have played three games, all in league, and are 1-2 over that span with a 3-2 win over St. Joseph on Jan. 3 and a 2-0 to defeat at the hands of the Righetti on Jan. 17. However, with the entire league caught up in one big log jam at the top of the Mountain. The Hounds find themselves in second place and will have plenty of opportunities in the second half of the league season to get back in the league title picture.

Scoring has been the Hounds only issue in their three-game stumble — so far in the Mountain League, they have scored the fewest goals with only three (Paso, Righetti, and SLO all tied at seven apiece) according to Maxpreps.com. 

Freshmen in Bella Valentine leads the Hounds in scoring with nine goals. Sydney Beeman has six and Ramos is third on the team with three. 

Junior forward Morgan Ramos controls the ball in traffic.

On Tuesday night, the Greyhounds will have their shot to get back on track in what is also a close game with the rival Bearcats who currently share a piece of the Moutain League lead. It will be a matchup strength against strength as Atascadero captain Anneline Breytenbach will have her hands full defensively with Jordan Bullard, Jasmine Solorio, Maya Kinder and Paso Robles offense who have scored seven goals in their last three games. 

Both of Atascadero’s games this week will be at home and it is imperative that they win both if they want to have a shot at the Mountain League title. Following their game with Arroyo Grande on Jan. 17 the Hounds go on the road for their next four consecutive games before ending the regular season at home on senior night on Feb. 5. 

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