Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Woodside’s Jillienne Aguilera, left, congratulates teammate Lauren Holland following
Holland’s goal in the third minute of the Wildcats’ 4-1 win over Carlmont.
Earlier in the season, Woodside girls’ soccer coach Jose Navarrete lamented the fact the 2013-14 edition of the Wildcats’ soccer team was missing that little extra something that defined the 2012-13 squad that earned a Central Coast Section Division I co-championship last season.
“Hard work has been there. Hard work and focus was what was lacking,” Navarrete said. “Things will go our way if we play hard for 80 minutes.”
Thursday, the Wildcats got their second shot at a Carlmont side that had snapped Woodside’s 31-game unbeaten streak, dating to last season.
Coming out with a focus and determination seldom seen this season, the Wildcats put together arguably their best performance since that CCS championship game last March, beating the Scots 4-1 and jumping over Carlmont to assume first place in the PAL’s Bay Division.
“It just proves we can play well again,” said Woodside junior captain Lauren Holland, who gave her team a quick 1-0 lead Thursday with a goal in the second minute.
“It’s mainly been our mentality (that has held us back),” Holland continued. “It’s all mental for us.”
Challenging every ball and every pass, Woodside (7-2-1 PAL Bay, 12-2-2 overall) kept Carlmont on its heels nearly the entire game. Carlmont (6-2-2) managed only three shots against the Wildcats, all in the second half. The Scots did not record their first shot on goal until the 51st minute — or 11 minutes into the second half.
“They outplayed us. They were the better team today,” said Carlmont coach Tina Smith.
Carlmont’s two big offensive weapons — Soha Said and Kayla Wong — were shut out of the play for long stretches at a time and did not make any kind of impact.
“[Carlmont does] a good job of checking back to the ball. If they can turn, they can expand (the offense),” Navarrete said. “Today, we tried to stay in front of them.”
The Scots were also hurting in the midfield with the absence of Charlotte Jackman, who injured her knee in practice Monday and sat out Tuesday’s win over San Mateo.
Even the defense took a hit when the Scots lost both their starting sweeper — along with her backup — to injuries during the contest.
“Those last two goals (Woodside scored) came against a player who had never played sweeper before,” Smith said.
Not that it would have mattered Thursday. Woodside was the more aggressive side, consistently winning 50-50 balls and then using its speed to fly past the Carlmont defensive line.
“I have the speed to match that,” Smith said. “They didn’t do that today.”
Woodside boosted its chances for a win by scoring a pair of goals in the opening 10 minutes, based strictly on hustle. Moments after the opening kickoff, a long ball was sent to the Carlmont defensive end. Freshman Alex Augulis chased down the ball near the endline and pulled a cross back to the top of the box. Holland ran on and blasted a shot that slipped inside the far right post to put Woodside up 1-0 two minutes into the game.
“[That goal] pumped us up, for sure,” Holland said.
Five minutes later, the Wildcats doubled their lead with a similar goal as their first one. This time it was sophomore Jillienne Aguilera who sent a ball through the Scots’ defensive line. Freshman Isabella Bascara ran past her defender and broke in on the Carlmont goalkeeper. Bascara’s first shot was blocked by the goalie, but she left a rebound that Bascara corralled and put into an empty net for a 2-0 Woodside advantage.
The Wildcats took that lead into halftime and kept up their assault in the second half. Midway through the second period, Woodside all but iced the game with its third goal of the match. Junior Mackenzie Person was battling for possession of the ball near midfield on the Woodside side of the center line. Person poked the ball into space and past the Carlmont defense, which was pushed up high, trying to help the offense. Erika Negrete sprinted past the defense and had just the goalie to beat. As the goalkeeper charged off her line, Negrete chipped a shot over her from the top of the penalty box and found the roof of the goal.
“That was the best feeling, to see her get a goal,” Navarrete said. “We’ve been having trouble keeping her on the field.”
Negrete is still dealing with a knee injury suffered last season.
Carlmont avoided the shutout when Lindsay Hendershott scored off a corner kick sent into the box by Brittany Zelnik in the 79th minute, but Aguilera, who tormented the Carlmont defense all game long with her fleet-footed runs down the flanks, latched onto a through ball, broke away from the defense and finished for the game’s final tally in stoppage time.
“Woodside, they came out and attacked us and we stayed in defensive mode,” Smith said.
Burlingame 4, Aragon 2
The Panthers joined Woodside at the top of the PAL Bay Division standings following their victory over the Dons Thursday.
Burlingame (6-0-4 PAL South, 9-2-5 overall) took a 2-0, first-half lead on a pair of goals from Alexis Prieto, who also added an assist. The first coming in the third minute off an assist from Alysse LaMond. Prieto added her second goal in the 11th minute off a free kick.
The Panthers pushed their lead to 3-0 in the 43rd minute on a Kelsey Andrews strike off an assist from Nia Morgan. LaMond rounded out the scoring in the 67th minute, converting a pass from Prieto.