Girls’ soccer: New goalie helps solid season start

January 28, 2010 — by Ren Norris and Olivia Chock

Freshman goalkeeper Ally Nilan-Axline started her varsity soccer career off in style. In her first regular season game, she stopped many shots from Wilcox on Jan. 7, resulting in a 1-1 tie. After playing preseason on the JV team, Nilan-Axline was given the opportunity to move up to varsity earlier that week as senior Jan Iyer recovered from an injury.

“My dad had always encouraged me to do varsity and he was really happy when I got to move up. I think this is just going to be a really good team especially since I have a great defense,” said Nilan-Axline.

Due to Nilan-Axline’s strong preseason with the JV team, varsity coach Kim Anzalone thought she was the most qualified to be the back-up goalie.

“For being a freshman, Ally has totally created her own space because she is outgoing, positive, friendly and confident,” said Anzalone. “Ally told me she is looking forward to learning as much as she can from [senior goalie] Jan [Iyer].”

The team played a tough season opening game against Wilcox. The equalizer was scored by senior captain defender Sarah Guy on an outside shot during the last minute of the game.

“It was a very exciting game at the ending goal. The ref said ‘one minute’ and I was like ‘one minute!?’ But we shoved it in and got the job done,” said assistant coach Brandon Chow.

The girls pulled off an impressive 3-1 win in their second league game against Cupertino on Jan. 12. Senior Adele Perera had two back-to-back assists to junior Mckenzi Crase and sophomore Kari Clark, and junior Ren Norris scored off of a corner by sophomore Courtney Brandt. The team also came away with a 1-0 victory against Lynbrook on Jan. 14, with the lone goal scored by freshman Amanda Schwartz.

“Our first few games gave us a lot of confidence,” said senior co-captain Sam Li. “It made us realize we are a good team that can work together.”

However, the girls lost their first game to Santa Clara on Jan. 23 by a 1-0 score. Santa Clara managed to score in the first half and held the Falcons to no goals, despite their many shots taken in the second half.

“I was disappointed since we dominated the entire game and had about 15 opportunities on goal that we just couldn’t finish,” said Anzalone.

Coming off their first loss, the team came back with a win against Milpitas on Jan. 26, the only goal being scored by Clark off of a corner by Brandt. On Jan. 27, the team pulled off a big 3-0 win against Fremont, who was undefeated and No. 1 in the league. Goals were scored by Brandt, Clark and Crase with assists from Crase, Brandt and Perera. The win brought the team’s El Camino league record to 4-1-1, and put them in second place.

According to Anzalone, the team will look to finish more of their scoring opportunities in order to dominate the rest of the league season, as they rematch the teams. They played Wilcox on Feb. 2 and faced Cupertino on Feb. 4. (The results of the games were unavailable due to publication deadlines.)

“The girls are coming together,” said Anzalone. “They are really becoming a team rather than individuals.”

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