The last time these girls ‘rivals from Crosstown met, Casa Grande played out Petaluma, said Gaucho’s girls’ soccer coach Vinnie Cortezzo. However, the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
Last week was a little different: Petaluma outperformed Casa overall, but the visiting gauchos took a 1-0 win and likely claimed the Vine Valley Athletic League title.
“I’ll have a little luck in football,” he said afterwards as his girls partied and the Trojans went away in tears because they knew they were playing well enough to win.
“I am satisfied with the result. I’m happy with the effort, ”he said. “I’m not enthusiastic about our football. We could have been better. “
Senior midfielder Savanna Sunshine scored a penalty for the only goal of the night 12 minutes into the game.
Second striker Mallory Jones dribbled onto the left side of the 18-yard box with Petaluma’s Amanda Rocha on his hip. The couple got tangled, both landing face first on the grass and the referee pointing to the penalty spot.
Cortezzo leaves it to his team to decide who takes the shot. Sunshine, a crew captain, stepped forward.
“I want someone who wants to do it,” said Cortezzo. “I know she can put it in the corner.”
“Some of my teammates weren’t sure who to take it,” said Sunshine. “I was confident that I could take the shot.” She stepped coolly on the ball and buried it in the lower right corner, past the Petaluma keeper Silvana Sessi.
“I trusted my instincts,” she said. “I was nervous, but I knew I could do it.”
Both teams went into the game unbeaten at VVAL, Casa 8-0-1 and Petaluma 7-0-1, the only non-win for each of their draws last month.
For girls on both teams, the game is more than just a VVAL competition. Most of them have known each other for years and play together in club teams.
A Petaluma Casa match could be for last place and each team would still face the occasion.
In the first 10 minutes of Wednesday’s game, both teams seemed to feel each other or train nerves without putting any real drives together.
Then the penalty and the goal, which gives Casa an important 1-0 advantage.
Petaluma struggled, dominated possession for the remainder of the half and took several shots, but nothing too worrisome for Casa keeper Rebecca Lewis.
The Trojans had three corners in a row, but Lewis parried one out of harm’s way and Casa’s defense held onto others.
“I knew they would answer,” said Cortezzo. “You had five corners in the last 20 minutes of the half. We were lucky enough to go in half with the lead. “
Petaluma also had more chances in the second 40, but several shots went far or straight to Lewis, a junior.
Petaluma manager Callum Brooker agreed with Cortezzo that the Trojans played well enough to win.
It was a “disappointing result for us, but I’m proud of my girls,” he said. “We controlled most of the game, created plenty of opportunities and set the pace. It’s one of those games that just doesn’t end with the result you were hoping for. “
He said Casa took pressure from the Trojans well.
“Overall it was a great game – very entertaining, two-way action, girls putting their hearts on either side of the field,” said Brooker.
With the win, Cortezzo said his team are comfortable in the driver’s seat with two games left in the league season.
“We’re just going to try to win them all and not have to worry about that,” he said.