The Palo Alto girls’ soccer team (11-3-1) played a tough game that resulted in a loss, 0-1, on home turf Wednesday, Feb. 7th. against Homestead Mustangs (10-5-3) on Senior Night.
Both teams started off strong, battling through the midfield with limited chances on goal. Senior Courtney Cox had the closest chance of the first half, with a strike from just outside the box.
When the dust settled, the score was 0-0 at intermission.
The Vikings came out with some fire in the early second half, with a header from senior midfielder Emily Tomz hitting the crossbar off a corner kick, which came off the rebound to a Homestead player. The Vikings remained on the attack for the second half, with good build up play leading to more and more chances to score.
“I think that our team intensity could have been better and I think we weren’t mentally prepared for the game probably because it was senior night,” senior forward Isabella Bonomi said. “We weren’t focused. We all really wanted to win but were forcing plays too much instead of settling down the ball and playing our game.”
With 15 minutes left in the second half, Tomz left with what looked to be an injury to the face, but the Vikings tried to push through and contain their strong defense. However, players were called offsides several times. Tomz is expected to be okay and will be starting on Friday’s game against the Los Gatos Wildcats.
“We wanted our forwards to check in more instead of making long runs because we kept getting caught offsides,” Bonomi said. “We also wanted our forward and midfield to turn and play back or play the simple pass instead of clear the ball forward.”
The Mustangs capitalized when Tomz was subbed off, scoring a quick goal off a strike in front of the net.
“We were slow and made sloppy errors on both offense and defense,” Tomz said. “We ramped it up a lot in the second half and after Homestead’s goal we just pushed even harder. Homestead is an excellent team and while both teams had many scoring chances, we unfortunately were never able to find the net.”
In the final minutes of the game, Paly strung together a few attacks that ultimately ended up scoreless.
Senior Ally Scheve missed the match due to a bone bruise on her right foot that resulted from a recent match against Santa Clara High School last Friday Feb. 2nd. Fortunately, Scheve is expected to be back for Friday’s game against Los Gatos High School.
The Vikings will graduate seniors Scheve, Bonomi, Clara Luehrs, Cox and Tomz after this season. This group of seniors has accounted for 19 assists and 16 goals this season.
Coach Ernesto Cruz knows that many juniors will have to step up next season.
“This is a sport that works as a team and I think that the entire varsity should step up,” Cruz said. “I always talk to the girls that everybody should be leaders. It doesn’t matter if you are a sophomore, junior or senior. The juniors have to learn from this group of girls that are graduating because they do a nice job.”
The Vikings will have their next match at 3:30 p.m. Friday Feb. 9th at Los Gatos High School.