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Trojans weather Winters to reach title game
The Trojans pulled out all the stops on Tuesday against Winters, when the Orland High girls soccer team battled back from a tie in overtime to claim a 4-3 playoff win and a road trip to Sutter Saturday.
Orland Coach Tim Milhorn was pleased with the outcome and the play of the girls saying, "The girls really showed their determination in overtime. All of the girls deserve praise for their play, and for keeping themselves in the game."
Orland dominated the entire first half, starting with a goal by Yaneth Munoz who scored her first goal in the third minute, only to hit the back of the net again in the fifth. Both goals were exciting, but the latter came after Munoz forward-headed a ball booted by a Winters defender and kept with it, scooting it past the keeper after going one-on-one.
Winters went on to score in the 15th minute, when the Warriors pushed forward while the Orland defenders lingered mid-field for a moment. Any momentum Winters had hoped would come from the score was quickly quashed however, when Munoz again nailed one from the left this time, giving Orland the 3-1 lead.
Munoz continued to thrive at the top, as she aided her fellow Trojans at shots on goal, and excelled at showing off her dribbling skills while under fire from the other team.
Though no other shots stuck in the first half, Orland's Cintya Macedonia and Vonna Salinas had many excellent touches and showed off their superb passing abilities, and heavily taxed the Winters defense.
The Warriors, true to their name, played physical ball, and for the first half, the Trojans were not matching the other team's aggressiveness.
In the 55th minute Winters found the back of the net when Trojan keeper Esme Esquivel made a fluke error, when she came toward an incoming ball that made three large bounces as it hit the ground, the last being too far above her head for her to grab, and into the goal, making the win within both teams' clutches.
Four minutes later, the Warriors struck again, this time when they pressured the Orland defense during a corner kick. Esquivel was quick and got the ball, but was knocked down while going for it. As she laid on the ground she tried to recover the ball, as the crumbled Trojans' defense tried to rally around the goal box, but a Winters player was able to toe the ball before anyone else could get to it, tying the game 3-3.
The Warriors had two other shots on goal that were aimed correctly, but Gricelda Caulderon and Mireya Lopez were on point and helped keep the Trojans out of further danger, especially in the second half. The Trojans very much wanted the win, and you could see it in their play during the last fifteen minutes of regulation, but Orland was unable to hammer one in, taking the game into OT.
Overtime started with a bang, as both teams came out to win it, playing tough, physical soccer. Orland's Lopez continued to play excellent defense, despite the Warriors imposing themselves on the Trojans' side for a large portion of the overtime.
All changed however, when Orland regained their focus and drive after the teams had switched sides. The Trojans switched into overdrive and camped out on the Warriors' front lawn.
Munoz, Macedonia and Salinas all continued their passing perfection, until Salinas dished a ball backwards to an awaiting Munoz, who fired in a shot. A few moments later, Orland was called for a hand-ball and the goal was not counted.
Now more than ever determined to seal the deal, the front line of the Trojans kept on coming, and Munoz burned the defenders and took the ball to go head-to-head with the Winters keeper. Starting off the break with super speed, she slowed it down as she approached and instead of hammering one in, she hit it to the left with a semi-hard tap, past the awaiting keeper, giving Orland the 4-3 lead. With only two minutes left in overtime, the Trojans grabbed the victory, earning Saturday's trip to Sutter for the Division II championship.
CONTACT Emily Saint-Evens at 824-7990 or firstname.lastname@example.org.