Battling back from a disappointing 2-0 loss to San Benito in their opening round game on Saturday, Oakdale’s U14 Insanity soccer girls earned a tie and a win on Sunday in first round State Association Cup action.
The Division 3 girls traveled to Lemoore for the cup competition and fell just short of moving on to the Sweet 16 at Morgan Hill, taking second in their bracket.
Elk Grove, the favorite, moved on with one win and two ties. Oakdale had a win, a loss and a tie and proved to be the only team that could keep Elk Grove from scoring, as the squads fought to a 0-0 tie in Sunday morning action.
The girls, coming off a league season that saw them play to an 11-2-1 mark, hoped to win the bracket and continue playing, but the ball did not bounce their way against San Benito. One goal was called back on an offsides penalty and another shot hit the crossbar late in the game.
“We had plenty of (scoring) opportunities,” Coach Brian Orr said of the game with San Benito. “We just couldn’t get any breaks.”
San Benito got one goal in the first half, a scramble in the mud in front of the net, and notched a clean shot on a corner kick to make it 2-0 in the second half.
Sunday morning, the girls suited up against Elk Grove and quickly got locked in a defensive battle.
“The defense especially played well, Katie Homer played well all weekend as a midfielder, Ally Jackson played very well all weekend on defense, goalie Katelyn Jackson did a great job, Montana Nunes played well, we could list all the defense, they just played very well throughout,” Orr said.
Neither team could get a goal in the net in the Sunday morning game, Katelyn Jackson making several stops against the larger Elk Grove team.
“The Elk Grove game really motivated them,” Orr said.
But it also was the difference, as one goal against Elk Grove would have meant a win and a trip to Morgan Hill.
Even with the tie, the girls knew they had a shot at moving on, but they had to take care of business against Clovis Odyssey in a late Sunday afternoon game and see what happened with the Elk Grove-San Benito showdown. Shut out in the first half, the Insanity offense finally broke through in the second half. Frustrated early in the weekend, Danae Rose got an outlet pass from midfielder Jessica Estrada and drove nearly the length of the field, maneuvering past several defenders and finding the back of the net for a 1-0 Insanity lead.
Two minutes later, defender Alyssa Perigen sent a clearing pass up the field, dropping it in front of Rose, who again found the net.
She would net her third goal of the game late in the second half, taken down in the box and awarded the penalty kick, which she sent flying past the keeper for a 3-0 Oakdale win.
“Danae really sparked them,” Orr said of the offense getting things clicking in the final game.
The Insanity, which has had an explosive offense and a steady defense all season long, had to be satisfied with the decisive shutout win to cap their campaign. They played a total of 28 games, compiling an overall mark of 21-4-3.
“We just needed one more goal,” Orr noted. “If we beat Elk Grove, we advance. But the girls played hard all season, and they played great all weekend.”