Ursuline blanks Santa Rosa 1-0

By HOWARD SENZELL
For The Press Democrat

Ursuline defeated Santa Rosa, 1-0, in a key North Bay League soccer match Wednesday night, and the Panthers might have lost a lot more than the game.
Amanda LaLonde, Santa Rosa’s leading scorer, appeared to break a big toe 13 minutes into the game and did not return.

Santa Rosa's Shawnee Phillips makes a valiant effort on a penalty kick by Ursuline's Belden Long. (Photo by Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

“We’re pretty sure it’s a fracture but she’ll see a doctor and find out for sure,” coach Nikki Kumasaka said. “It doesn’t look good and there was no way she could’ve played after that. Will she be back this season? I’m hoping, but just don‘t know.”

LaLonde collided with Ursuline keeper Abby Steele a few yards in front of the goal and Steele was whistled for the infraction. The ensuing direct kick by Karli Nestler missed wide right.
Ursuline’s goal came on a penalty kick by Belden Long two minutes before halftime. Veronica Morales was tripped inside the goal box by Nestler, drawing the penalty.
The victory means Ursuline controls its fate in the NBL. Win their last two against Ukiah and Montgomery and the Bears will finish second behind Maria Carrillo.

“We’re trying to position ourselves for a high seed in North Coast Section playoffs,” coach John Gilson said. “The second place finisher in the NBL should get one of the higher seeds. Our league is deep and tough this year.”
Ursuline dominated Santa Rosa and missed at least five direct shots on goalie Shawnee Phillips.

“We didn’t make the most of our opportunities,” Gilson said. “The girls needed to be more patient with their shots. Sometimes what happens is that a player has control of the ball in front of the goal and instead of faking and then shooting, they kick the ball hard and try to overpower the goalie. That’s what happened tonight. We hit right at Phillips. We didn’t make her work hard enough.

“Still, we did what we want to do and that’s win the game and improve our seeding position for the post season.”

Ursuline is 8-3-1 in league and 11-3-1 overall. Santa Rosa is 7-3-2 in the NBL and 8-3-5 overall.
Santa Rosa had several reasons for not putting forth a peak performance Wednesday. The Panthers were coming off a 4-0 victory over Montgomery on October 15 and they lost their leading scorer to injury.

“We didn’t have 11 players on the field that were giving it their all,” Kumasaka said.
“That was the first time in more than 10 years that Santa Rosa has beaten Montgomery. I thought we were over the celebrating and were ready for Ursuline, but we weren’t. Not all my girls were focused. No question they were the dominant team.”

When the teams played earlier in the season at Santa Rosa, the final was 1-1.
This was the first of three straight road games for the Panthers.
They play at Maria Carrillo on Friday and then finish the regular season at Ukiah on October 27.