Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Half Moon Bay’s Kylie Freeburg, right, goes over the back of Terra Nova’s Sierra Olsen trying to get to the ball during the Cougars’ 3-0 win over Tigers, which pulled them into a tie with Terra Nova atop the Ocean Division standings.
Half Moon Bay girls’ soccer coach Katie Moore said all the right things; how her team focuses on the task at hand and doesn’t look ahead.
While the Cougars have done just that, they have kept one eye on Tuesday’s date: a rematch with Terra Nova.
On Jan. 6, the Tigers beat Half Moon Bay in the Peninsula Athletic League Ocean Division opener. Neither team had lost since.
So, not only did Tuesday’s rematch already have plenty of emotion because of the rivalry aspect of the game, but a Half Moon Bay win would draw the Cougars even with Terra Nova atop the Ocean Division standings.
Which is exactly what happened.
Half Moon Bay took a 1-0 lead just before halftime and added two more in the second half to record a 3-0 victory.
“That’s probably our best game yet,” Moore said. “We know we’re the best team in the league and should win every game.”
The win improved Half Moon Bay’s league mark to 9-1, while Terra Nova fell to 9-1.
Terra Nova had its chances but, a pass out of reach or a shot that squirted off a foot and out of danger, kept the Tigers off the scoreboard.
Half Moon Bay, on the other hand, seized its opportunities and made the Tigers pay.
“They just outplayed us,” said Terra Nova coach Ernie Brockmeyer. “Not a whole lot to say.”
The first half was evenly played, with both teams getting good looks at goal. Half Moon Bay had the best chance in the 37th minute when, following a scramble in the Terra Nova penalty box, the ball was poked toward the empty net. But Tigers defender Sara Acquisti recovered and cleared the ball out of danger.
Two minutes later, the Tigers would not be so fortunate. It was their inability to clear the ball away that resulted in a Cougars goal minutes before halftime. With the ball just outside the Terra Nova penalty box, Kimmie Odasz flipped a pass into space. Natalie Strohm chested the ball down and, in the next moment, hit a shot across her body that beat the goalkeeper to the far right post for a 1-0 Half Moon Bay lead at halftime.
The Tigers started out fast in the second half, earning a couple of free kicks that did not result in much.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Cougars doubled their lead. With the ball bouncing loose deep in the Tigers end, Odasz corralled it, beat the defender to the corner and cut in on goal. She made a cutback at the top of the penalty box to lose her defender and create the space necessary to get off a shot. She did and found the far right corner of the net for a 2-0 Half Moon Bay lead.
And the Cougars did not let up.
“We play high pressure all game,” Moore said. “We go hard the whole game. We take pride in having the fittest team (in the Ocean Division).”
That constant pressure did not allow the Tigers to get untracked. They had a couple counterattack opportunities, but could not finish.
The Cougars, meanwhile, all but put the game way with their third goal in the 62nd minute. Off of a throw-in deep in the Terra Nova end, the ball bounced into the penalty box. The Tigers defense could not clear the ball cleanly and Beau Hamada was there to poke the ball into the net through traffic.
“The first time we played them, we didn’t play well. We played scared,” Moore said of her team’s 3-1 loss in the league opener.
“This was a great a win (Tuesday). Overall, we played a solid game.”