Casa girls dominate Sonoma, 6-1

Casa Grande's Christina Rebata, left, heads the ball toward the Sonoma goal as the Dragons’ Doris Martinez pressures her Tuesday. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / THE PD)

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Getting healthy and playing together, Casa Grande is finding its form and dominating Sonoma County League girls’ soccer as evidenced by Tuesday’s decisive win over Sonoma Valley.

The Gauchos turned back a game Dragons team 6-1 with Christina Rebata starting the scoring with a pair of goals, her first since returning this month from a severe ankle sprain. Two other senior starters also are back on the field after recovering from injuries that kept them out until the midpoint of league play.

“It feels really good to be back,” Rebata said. “I think we’re finding each other again. We’re communicating a lot better.”

The pressure Casa Grande displayed on offense and a stifling defense against Sonoma Valley showed the Gauchos are again confident playing their brand of attacking soccer after struggling some in non-league contests to open the season.

“We got up on them. We followed our game plan pretty well,” said Casa Grande coach Vinny Cortezzo.
While not pleased with the result, Sonoma Valley coach Pamela Wiley said the Dragons played with more conviction than in some games this season.

“They all worked really hard,” Wiley said. “We’re just trying to talk a little more. We’re still pretty young.”
Casa Grande’s veteran lineup showed why the Gauchos remain undefeated in league play. Striking early with Rebata’s two scores — one on a header, the other on a swinging shot — provided momentum that Sonoma Valley couldn’t match until late in the first half.

Assisting on both goals was Noelle Laprevotte, one of several midfielders that helped keep the ball on Sonoma Valley’s side of the field much of the first half.

When the Dragons put together some runs and passing combinations, Casa Grande’s backs, led by Rika Goto, stepped in to cut off possessions and get the ball going the other way. Also using its outside backs to push play on offense, Casa Grande made it 3-0 on a shot from Courtney Rebata — twin sister of Christina — off a solid pass from Margi Osmundson.

Keeping the pressure on to open the second half, Casa Grande scored quickly. Goto pushed up the right side and served a cross for a header by Renee Kinahan.

Then the Dragons put together possessions to largely control long stretches of the second half.
Sonoma Valley’s strong play started on defense with Ellie Ceja turning back Casa Grande scoring bids and also leading possessions through the middle of the field. Her top targets were Annie Studdert and Selena Caruso.
On one determined run, Studdert carried the ball from the left side near midfield down near the right corner, finally creating enough space for a hard shot the Gauchos’ goalie couldn’t keep out of the net.

Substituting often on the hot afternoon, Casa Grande’s fresh legs created more than a handful of scoring chances. But game goalkeeping by Emily Wilber, diving and scrambling for saves, kept the Gauchos from adding to their lead.

The pair of late Gauchos’ goals was set up by a relentless attack, including a tough angled shot.

The convincing win away from home leaves Casa Grande undefeated in league play after the first half of the SCL season. The team’s 13 seniors want to go out with a North Coast Section championship.

“We’re improving,” Christina Rebata said. “I think we can definitely go all the way.”