Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Hillsdale's Amanda Diaz, right, beats Crystal Springs defender Ally Solorzano to the ball to score the Knights'
second goal in a 4-0 Hillsdale win Tuesday afternoon in Hillsborough.
The Hillsdale girls’ soccer team managed to win only one game during Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division play last season.
But if the Knights play the way they did against Crystal Springs Uplands School Tuesday, they should be on track to win many more than one this season in the Bay Division.
Hillsdale dominated possession as well as the game, scoring twice in each half to shut out the Gryphons 4-0.
“We can possess the ball better than we have (in the past),” said Hillsdale co-coach Samia Shoman. “We have new players and some seasoned players and just (added) a few of the missing pieces.”
Crystal Springs, on the other hand, just need to keep its collective heads above water as the Gryphons try to get healthy and more experience. Crystal Springs coach Michael Flynn said his is missing upwards of six starters and had five freshmen in the starting lineup Tuesday.
“We’re trying to work with what we got,” Flynn said. “We have no depth. If we can get at least [two of our starters] back, it gives us some depth and gives us some speed on the wings.”
Hillsdale’s strengths appear to be in the midfield and defensive line. Senior attacking midfielder Kayla Coleman appears to have the talent around her that will allow her to get into the attack this season more than at any other time in her Hillsdale career. Over the past several years, she’s has spent time as the Knights’ sweeper as well as defensive midfielder out of sheer necessity.
With Coleman pushing into the attack zone, she can use her pinpoint passing to spring loose the Knights’ strikers.
“She was always supposed to be attacking,” Shoman said.
Coleman’s calm and technical skill on the ball seems to have rubbed off on the rest of her teammates as the Knights spent most of the first half using one and two touches on the ball to knock it around and build their attack from the midfield.
Tayla Kelley, a sophomore, gives the Knights a big target in the midfield as well and she opened the scoring in the eighth minute when she received a pass about 35 yards from goal and looped a shot over the goalkeeper’s head, who was playing well off her goal line, to put the Knights up 1-0.
Five minutes later, the Knights doubled the score. Coleman took the ball on the left wing and sent a pass to the top of the Crystal Springs penalty box. Amanda Diaz came running on and after stepping in front of her defender, poked a shot past the goalie for a 2-0 Hillsdale lead.
After that, the Knights just went on the attack, sending a number of dangerous balls out to the wings.
“That’s more of the girls being more excited,” Shoman said of the change of attack tactics. “We want to build an attack (from the midfield).”
Crystal Springs stabilized in the second half, getting more opportunities on the ball, but the Gryphons were all but limited to counter attacks.
Their offense was a little better in the second half. After just getting off three shots in the first half, the Gryphons had five in the second half — with four shots being on goal.
Hillsdale, meanwhile, peppered the Crystal Springs goalie in the second, forcing her to make 10 saves on 14 shots.
Two of those shots, however, found the back of the net. In the 63rd minute, Shayna Bronstein sent a perfect pass to the top of the penalty box. Marissa Musso ran onto the ball, with a defender on her shoulder. She made a cutback move to lose her defender and placed a perfect shot off the far right post and into the net for a 3-0 Hillsdale lead.
Right fullback Monika Vel rounded out the scoring for the Knights. Working a give and go on the right wing, Vel received the return pass, beat a couple defenders and ripped a shot from the top of the box that found the back of the net for the final goal of the game.
Vel’s run is another added dimension to Hillsdale, as just about all their defenders have to ability to move up into the attack. Vel, Valerie Chiang, and Sophia Dertossian all joined in the offense at one point or another during the game.
“That’s a big difference, too (having attacking defenders),” Shoman said. “We have players (on the back line) who can possess the ball and have the confidence to do that (join the attack).”