By RICHARD J. MARCUS
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Despite Montgomery’s 7-0 girls soccer win over much smaller Sonoma Academy on Wednesday, both teams profited from the experience.
The host Coyotes (2-1) struggled against a more talented and deeper Vikings (7-0) squad, but facing stiff nonleague competition from a large school is what the Coyotes sought, Sonoma Academy coach Chris Ziemer said.
“We have been playing Montgomery for years,” Ziemer said. “As a small school program it is a chance for us gain experience.”
For Montgomery, the easy win was a tune-up before beginning the NBL season Friday at Maria Carrillo, while the Coyotes used the match an opportunity to toughen up before playing at Middleton on Friday.
“We get together with them (Sonoma Academy) every year, and it’s very friendly,” Vikings coach Pat McDonald said. “They are a great team to play just before league play.”
Montgomery wasted little time establishing control. In the 6th minute, Montgomery’s Katie Woodrum converted a corner kick that was wind-aided and swept into the net past Coyotes goalie Julia Willmers.
Leading 1-0, the Vikings added a second goal eight minutes later as Montgomery midfielder Jen Yacuta swerved around several Sonoma Academy defenders on the Coyotes’ half of the field and sent a precise cross to teammate Taylor Fager, who converted the pass into a 5-yard goal.
“Yacuta made a lot of good runs down the field and set up our attacks in the first half,” McDonald said. “We played technically sound today.”
Montgomery added a third goal in the 39th minute on a 4-yard goal by Prisilla Villalobos via an assist from Fager.
“Montgomery put us under a lot of pressure and it is good for our defense,” Ziemer said. “Whenever we play Montgomery we focus more on our performance than the result.”
The second half was more of the same — dominance by Montgomery. The Vikings scored four goals, including two by Ellen Moeller, one by Lennea Langer and one by Villalobos.
When the dust settled the Vikings finished with a 17-2 shots on goal advantage. Montgomery goalies Shyniah Austin and Abi Lukacic didn’t get much work.
“Today it was difficult for us to generate offensive punch,” Ziemer said. “They (Montgomery) outshot us, outplayed us and deserved to beat us.”
Sonoma Academy had almost no offense as the Vikings’ defense bottled up Coyote strikers Savannah Stoughton and Willow Gallagher throughout the match.
“Our defense played well today,” McDonald said.
Despite losing star player Kate Bayes (150 goals over four years) to graduation and the loss to the Vikings, Ziemer said there are positive things on his team as demonstrated in a 6-0 victory over Piner earlier in the season.
“I think we are going to be competitive at the small school level and against some of the larger schools,” he said.