Analy’s rebuilding is ahead of schedule

Analy will play two Sonoma County League games in three days this week. (PD photo).

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

SEBASTOPOL — Analy High coach Joe Heil thought this would be a rebuilding season for his young girls soccer team. Boy, was he wrong.

Following Monday night’s 2-1 overtime victory over Sonoma County League rival Petaluma, the “rebuilding” Tigers are 12-2-1 and 5-2 in league.

For a squad that is 45 percent freshmen and sophomores, Heil is amazed at how quickly the winning formula has come together.

“I thought we were a year or two away from being a really good team,” Heil said. “We’ve been in rebuilding mode since we lost 12 seniors from the team two years ago that made a good run in NCS.

While Heil concedes this Analy squad is not yet on par with Redwood Empire powerhouses Casa Grande, Windsor, Montgomery and Maria Carrillo, he is enjoying the ride his young team is taking him on this year.

When the Tigers defeated Petaluma earlier in the season, it marked the first time in four years Analy had beaten the Trojans.

Analy’s scoring on Monday was strictly an underclassmen production. The game winner was scored by sophomore Riley Ping Medvigy five minutes into the first overtime.

Late in the first half, two freshmen combined to give Analy a 1-0 lead. After taking a pass from Rachel Hargrave, Makenna Lujan streaked down the field and got the angle on Petaluma goal keeper Haley Lemos. The kick made it under the bar by inches.

It appeared that goal would be the only one of the game. However, with three minutes remaining, Lyndsay Gahring tied the scored. When Tiger goalkeeper Keaton Wheeler committed to coming out of goal to cut down the angle, Gahring was able to find an open part of the net.

“With the tying goal coming so late in regulation, I wanted to make sure my girls didn’t let down in overtime,” Heil said. “During the break, I urged them to play the overtime with renewed fire, especially the midfielders.”

Analy did just that. The game winner came with Ping Medvigy closing in on Petaluma keeper Lamos with two teammates flanking her.

“Riley was looking to cross the ball to one of her teammates” Heil explained. “However, the goalie got her hand on the pass and redirected it into the net.”

Like Analy, Petaluma is a young team and coach Ralph Montes said the Trojans will only get better.

“Morale is high and the girls are learning to play together,” he said.

This was the second tough beat in a week for the Trojans. They lost to crosstown rival Casa Grande last Friday. Petaluma is 3-7-1 and 3-3-1 in the SCL.