Deadlock feels like a victory for Jaguars

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

WINDSOR — The host Jaguars couldn’t prevent Casa Grande from winning its fifth straight Sonoma County League girls soccer title Wednesday night, but they did stop the Gauchos from going into the history book with an unblemished conference record.

The teams battled to a 2-2 overtime tie, and to the Windsor players and coaches it felt like a win. On the Casa side of the field there wasn’t a smile to be found.

The Gauchos concluded SCL play with an 11-0-1 record, while Windsor is 8-1-2 and can clinch second place with a victory at Sonoma Valley on Friday.

“It’s disappointing,” Casa coach Vinnie Cortezzo said after consoling his girls. “We really wanted to be remembered as the team that went 12-0 in league. Of course a tie is better than losing, but to be so close to perfection and then not getting it is tough to swallow.”

Casa had every reason to be confident. When the teams met in Petaluma earlier in the year, Casa breezed, 4-1.

“That game wasn’t indicative of the way we can play,” Windsor coach Junior Aranda responded. “We had a lot of players injured that day and the score was close until Casa scored a couple of late goals.

“This time around, we were healthy and the girls executed the game plan we drew up.”

Thinking back on the first meeting and then scouting the Gauchos, Aranda and his staff devised a plan to keep the Casa offense from going on a scoring rampage.

The game plan was to keep the ball away from the middle of the field where Casa often started its offensive attacks.

“If they couldn’t get that pass from the player in the middle, they were going to have trouble attacking us from the sides,” Aranda said. “We knew that’s what we had to do and the girls carried out the game plan.”

Casa Grande's Noelle Laprevotte scored the final goal of the game to tie the score at 2-2. (THE PRESS DEMOCRAT, 2009)

Casa was lucky to leave town with a tie. The Gauchos were down 2-1 with five minutes remaining in regulation. Junior Noelle Laprevotte got a loose ball five yards in front of the crease and was able to get a corner angle to beat goalie Morgan Jerrigan.

“When I went to kick the ball with my left foot I got a cramp in my calf,” Laprevotte said. “I didn’t have the leg strength to get much on the kick, just enough to get it past the keeper.”

Sophomore Cierra Iribarne got Casa’s first goal less than nine minutes into the game with an assist by Margi Osmundson. It was Irbarne’s sixth goal of the year, most on the team. Osmundson is second on the team in assists with six. Laprevotte is the leader with nine.

“We came out flat and stepped it up at the end,” Iribarne said. “We’d already clinched league and while we really wanted to win all 12 league games, there wasn’t the intensity. We didn’t give up and got that late goal, but next week at NCS we’re going to have to play with more fire.”

Laprevotte agreed. “Our motivation was to finish league unbeaten, but we came out lax. We’ve had a tendency to do that the past few games.”

While Casa wasn’t into the game early, Windsor came out with a lot of emotion. Being Senior Night helped and not wanting Casa to go 12-0 also played a factor.

“The girls wanted this game,” coach Aranda said. “I could see it the past few days at practice and I could see it by the intensity they showed warming up. We’re a good team with an excellent defense.”

The Jaguars have allowed only eight goals in their last 14 games.

After spotting Casa a 1-0 lead, Windsor pulled even on a free kick by Solveig Christensen at the 34-minute mark of the first period.

Less than eight minutes later, Yvette Fernandez scored with an assist by Mariah Meza.

Counting non-conference games, Windsor is 8-3-3. Overall, the Gauchos are 11-2-3.

North Coast Section seeding will be announced Sunday and play begins next Wednesday.