The San Ramon Valley women’s soccer team lost their first game of the season to rival Carondelet High on Tuesday night, 2-1.
The Cougars (5-1-2) got off to a quick start against San Ramon Valley (7-1-1). Carondelet scored their two goals in the first 15 minutes of the game with a string of well-timed passes and fast-paced attack.
Francesca Panella, a sophomore, scored the first goal after receiving a pass from senior Meggi Fisher in the 12th minute of the first half.
Four minutes later, junior Alyssa Herwatt found the back of the net when she pulled the trigger at the top of the 18-box, escaping the reach of outstretched Wolves goalkeeper Beth Ritter.
“[Panella] passed the ball back to me and then I shot it outside the 18 and it went in,” said Herwatt. “I just hoped it would go in. I thought it was gonna go over to be honest, but I was really glad it went over Beth.”
Shortly after the Cougars’ second goal, San Ramon got on the board when a loose ball coming across the box slipped off Carondelet defender Madi Castelein’s left foot and into the net.
The score appeared to have given the Wolves a sense of urgency. San Ramon started to settle into their style of play and controlled the ball for the latter part of the first half.
That intensity carried over the second half as San Ramon Valley held possession for the majority of the time.
The Wolves put together a consistent attack, creating opportunities from crosses, corner kicks and dissecting the Cougar defensive third with their movement off the ball. San Ramon finished the night with 14 shots on goal, compared to Carondelet’s five.
However, the Wolves’ offense just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities they created.
“We’ve been having a hard time finishing goals… we couldn’t finish, so hats off to Carondelet because they did,” said San Ramon Valley head coach Mark Jones.
The player of the game was Cougar goalkeeper Dorsa Ansari, a senior, who compiled 14 saves in the match.
“We gave up a lot of corner kicks,” said Ansari. “It’s better to just get it out of the way than have it in our box.”
Carondelet played conservative in the second half, staying on their defensive half to try to smother the San Ramon offense.
Cougars’ head coach Rick Morin wanted his team to place all their efforts on the defensive side of the ball.
He said the gamelpan was to “just defend, defend, defend, defend. They’re very athletic, very fast and they put a lot of pressure on teams.”
“Our defense is the backbone to the team; our back four, our two holding mids, our keeper, everyone works hard to defend,” Morin said.
San Ramon fell to Carondelet last year during the NCS playoffs, adding more fuel to the rivalry.
“It’s a huge victory. San Ramon is our biggest rival. We beat them in the NCS last year, so it was a really big deal,” said Herwatt.