NCS girls soccer: Windsor puts it all together against Rancho Cotate

By ALLIE COLOSKY
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

WINDSOR — Windsor defeated Rancho Cotate 3-1 Wednesday night in the first round of the Division 1 North Coast Section playoffs to set up a rematch against Maria Carrillo.

The Jaguars and Pumas will battle in the second round on Saturday for the second year in a row.

If Windsor plays with the same aggression as it did Wednesday night, it could be a different game than last year’s 3-0 loss to the eventual Division 1 champions, Windsor coach Mark Archambault said.

“It’s probably one of the best games (we’ve) played all year,” he said. “It’s a great thing for us to carry into Saturday.”

The Jaguars outshot the Cougars 13-4 in the first half, 24-8 overall, in beating Rancho Cotate for the second time this season.

Mariah Meza, Windsor’s leading scorer, got the Jaguars on the board first in the 15th minute when she found the ball in traffic off a corner kick, controlled it and blasted it into the back of the net.

“I just got the rebound and definitely wanted to finish it off,” Meza said.

Ten minutes later, Meza sent a long ball up the field, which found Symone Nevel racing up the right side. Nevel maneuvered her way to a one-on-one duel with Rancho keeper Olivia Barnett before drilling the ball past the goalie into the left corner of the net.

“We’re on the same club team, so we know how to work with each other,” Nevel said of playing with Meza. “We know how to anticipate it more and get up front a lot.”

Barnett finished with 19 saves for the Cougars.

“She put in the work to earn that starting varsity spot this year,” Rancho coach Dennis Holmberg said of his goalkeeper. “Any college she goes to, she’s going to be a good one.”

Rancho Cotate had few opportunities at the net, but was dangerous in those chances, including a shot at a Windsor open net in the first half.

The Jaguars continued to pressure on offense in the second half and dominated possession. Six minutes into the second half, Meza found a breakaway in the middle of the field, carried the ball 10 yards and finished with a blast past Barnett for her second goal of the night.

The Jaguars “did a really good job of exploiting the middle and then playing the ball down the alleys out to the sides,” Archambault said.

With 18 minutes left in regulation, Rancho Cotate ruined the Jaguars’ hopes of a shutout. Julia Lambert found an opening in front of the net and slid the ball past Jaguars keeper Katie Coleman into the right corner of the net.

“Windsor definitely outworked us tonight,” Holmberg said. “They’re a good team going forward and they have a real chance against Carrillo.”

With the win, Windsor improved its record to 9-8-1 overall as it prepares to face the top-seeded Pumas on Saturday. Rancho finished its season 10-10-3.

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