After frenzied search, girls’ soccer team finds permanent goalie

January 27, 2024 — by Amelia Chang and Ruiyan Zhu
Photo by Bryan Zhao
Junior Hilary Gonzalez gains possession of the ball on Jan. 16 during a game against Mountain View.
After junior Sofia Cintra volunteered to play goalie, the team has been more focused on improving their defense.

The girls’ soccer team (5-8 as of Jan. 25) is keeping a positive mindset as they look to learn from their losses and battle their way uphill for the rest of the season.

“We’ve lost a few tough games against good teams but it hasn’t been really reflective of our success as a team. We’ve been connecting really well and are able to move the ball around,” senior co-captain and midfielder Kate Oberhauser said.

The team lost 4-3 to Santa Clara on Jan. 23, lost 4-0 to Los Gatos on Jan. 18, lost 3-0 to Mountain View on Jan. 16, lost 7-0 to Homestead on Jan. 11, lost 2-1 to Palo Alto on Jan. 9, won 6-3 over Santa Clara on Jan. 2, lost 8-1 to Los Altos on Dec. 14, won 3-2 to Alisal, won 2-1 over King’s Academy on Dec. 9, won 2-1 over Silver Creek on Dec. 7, won 3-1 over Notre Dame on Dec. 5, lost 4-0 to Redwood on Dec. 2 and lost 5-2 to Hillsdale on Nov. 30.

One of the largest challenges for the team this season has been finding a permanent goalie. Earlier, coach Ben Maxwell rotated players to play the position, leading to uneven results. The team finally solved this problem when junior Sofia Cintra stepped up to the position.

“Participation is going down in girls’ soccer, and we don’t have a lot of options for goalie,” Cintra said. “I feel like we were suffering from that.”

This year is Cintra’s first time playing soccer on an actual team; she started training last September. Before, she had only played casually with friends with no outside of school training or club. 

Her coaches primarily trained her in her new role, but training with teammates incorporated also gave Cintra more experience.

“I enjoyed [soccer] and I feel like it was a sport that I wanted to try and get better at, because initially I did dance, which is a lot different,” Cintra said. “I would be happy to continue playing goalie in the future, especially if the team still needs one next year.”

Thanks to Cintra, the team’s defense has improved. Players have also implemented a new defensive formation that is a 5-3-2 shape, with 5 defenders at the back, 3 midfielders and 2 forwards, compared to their previous 4-3-3 formation. This provides more reinforcement in the backline, which is the line of defense.

Cintra has also started adapting to her new role, adding that it has been stressful for her. On Jan. 16, she played goalie against Mountain View for the first time. 

“It’s an exciting position, but it’s certainly not easy,” she said. “But now that we have a goalie, I hope things will go uphill.”

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