Pumas stay undefeated thanks to Mohr, Tosti

Maria Carrillo's Laurel Shepperd gets a head on the ball against Santa Rosa during Wednesday's game at Santa Rosa. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / PD)

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Booting balls to each other since they were 4, Katie Mohr and Sara Tosti played like soccer siblings in leading Maria Carrillo to a surprisingly dominant win Wednesday over Santa Rosa.

The pair combined to score or assist on four goals in the 6-0 victory that leaves the Pumas the North Bay League’s only undefeated team — a mark that could stand if they play as crisp as Wednesday’s showing.

“It was a great game,” said Mohr, who touted the entire team’s play. “Our midfield and defense were there for us. They were awesome.”

While both Mohr and Tosti displayed the skills that make them All-Empire players, Maria Carrillo’s attack starts with the middle and back lines. Winning loose balls and getting passes onto teammates’ feet for combinations, the Pumas can quickly cut through an opponents’ defense.

Santa Rosa was still very much in the game down just two goals at halftime after the Panthers’ defense stiffened and goalkeeper Shawnee Phillips made her typical handful of spectacular saves. And the Panthers put more pressure on to open the second half.

Then the Pumas responded with unselfish play and a string of quick scores that flattened the Panthers.

“We came out strong in the second half. Carrillo is just very talented. Once you give them the momentum, they just kill you,” said Santa Rosa coach Nikki Kumasaka.

The relentless Carrillo play created early scoring chances, with Mohr taking a long serve from Tosti and punching in a shot through the charging Phillips.

On a counter off a Santa Rosa run, Mohr settled a pass with a touch to Tosti, who took it on the run past a defender and banged the shot inside the left post. Mohr had three goals and two assists, with Tosti scoring twice and assisting once.

“We read each other really well. We know where each other is on the field,” Mohr said of her combinations with Tosti.

With midfielders Joanne Howard and Jacqui Jahn finding forward Amanda LaLonde more often, Santa Rosa kept possessions going. Yet the Panthers had trouble getting shots on goal. The best chance came on a corner kick from Vanessa Peña that Madi Garshman headed wide.

The Pumas responded with Mohr taking a Tosti pass up the left side, angling toward the goal unmarked and striking the shot off the outreached arms of a sliding Phillips. The run started with Katie Prosser and Madison Minton gaining possession at midfield.

“Each line committed to the team. They did everything that we ask them to do,” said Maria Carrillo coach Debra LaPrath. “It was a very clean game, kind of textbook.”

Even with a three-goal lead, LaPrath reminded her players that plenty of game remained against one of the league’s top squads.

On the Pumas’ fourth score, defensive anchor and long throw specialist Kendra Corsberg tossed one that took a high bounce for a Mohr header — facing away from the goal.

Maria Carrillo’s crisp passing again was evident with a series of quick exchanges setting Mohr up for a long cross to Tosti, who again slid by a defender for an open shot and score.

Center midfielder Victoria Kovatch got into the scoring column with a well played service for a one-timer by Minton.

You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or mike.coit@pressdemocrat.com.