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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Girls’ soccer: Team struggles to capitalize on opportunities

A tougher league, a slew of injuries and questionable refereeing have all contributed to the team’s 1-2-6 record and last-place standing as of Feb. 6. The team has a slim chance at going to CCS, with one tie and two wins, and must win its final three games to move on.

Despite a rough season, the girls remain positive and if they do not make CCS, aim to keep their spot in the De Anza league for next year.

“I think considering that we moved up a league, we are doing all right,” sophomore center-midfielder Stephanie Ho said. “The teams are much stronger, so it is tougher to win, but we are hanging in there.”

The team earned a record-breaking four red cards this season for supposed rough play. Seniors Kari Clark and Sneha Shivkumar were given red cards in the first league game against Mountain View. Senior Courtney Brandt was given a red card in a game against Palo Alto and coach Molly Flannagan was given a red card the same game for arguing with the referee. Despite the red cards, which caused the team to play with players down, and even without a coach for two games, the team had many close games against top teams.

“The team is performing at the level at which they should be,” Flannagan said. “However, we’ve had some tough losses in close games, which has put us in a position where we must win our remaining games to qualify for CCS.”

This season the team played each of the six teams in the league twice, and had six pre-season games including a tournament.

Flannagan said based on the season so far, the team would be a competitor in CCS, but has a lot of work to get there.

Senior captains Brandt and Anna Ashe, seniors Shivani Chadha and Antara Rao, junior Megan Doles, and sophomore Stephanie Ho were also out for parts of the season’s end due to injuries and sicknesses.

Junior Megan Doles was injured with a hairline fracture in her back in a game against Monta Vista and did not play the remainder of the season. She will be out of sports for four to six weeks.

“I hope the team keeps working hard and doesn’t worry so much about the score of the game,” Doles said. “They should give it all they’ve got and I wish I could be out with them right now.”

Flannagan said many of the games throughout the season were winnable, but the team had some problems finishing in the goal.

“We’re very good at possessing the ball and we usually have control of the game, but we don’t have a consistent goal scorer,” Flannagan said. “In the final stretch of the season we’re focused and ready to beat the remaining teams, especially Los Gatos.”

The team has scored eight goals with 17 goals against in the first nine games.

“We have had to deal with a lot of pressure moving up to the A [De Anza] league. There is a huge gap between the skill of the B [El Camino] league and the A league,” junior goalie Alyson Nilan-Axline said. “But I feel like we are adjusting well. We have to be a better team on and off the field, and I feel like we are.”

Though team members continue to encourage each other, the season has been tough on the girls and they hope for better results next year.

“I hope that we can win our last few games, or at least tie. Our team could use the emotional boost right now,” Nilan-Axline said.

The team will play its last two games against Los Gatos, which is also the senior game, and Monta Vista on Feb. 10 and 15 respectively.

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