Royals pick up first league win, edge DP 2-1

Coach Lloyd Biggs had scheduled a grueling hour of conditioning for Friday’s San Marcos girls soccer practice.

“We had a practice this week where we kind of brought that upon ourselves,” admitted senior captain Jenny Ann Martinez.

The deal was that 30 minutes would be shaved off of the conditioning for every goal the Royals scored against visiting Dos Pueblos on Thursday night. Well, they won’t be doing any conditioning on Friday after a 2-1 defeat over the Chargers.

The Royals, who have struggled to finish opportunities all season, picked up their first Channel League win by putting away both goals in the second half. Seven minutes after the break, Ali Raack found herself in perfect position right in front of the net as a cross was blocked back right to her. Raack was dog-piled by her teammates right after scoring.


Dos Pueblos responded on an all-freshman play in the 65th minute, as ninth-grader Rachel Smith slid to save a ball that was headed out on the baseline, sending a perfect cross to classmate Jamie Benedetto for the easy score.

San Marcos managed to strike once again in the 74th, as a long free kick by Nicolette Leslie was flicked in front of the goal by Hayden Pugh. Martinez was there, but her first attempt was stopped by DP goalie Meagan Bellefeuille. It came right back to Martinez, however, and she sent her next try into the back of the net.

Just a few minutes later, DP’s Smith and captain Kristen Witchey accidentally banged heads with a loud crack that was audible from the sidelines. They were both down for about 10 minutes before leaving the field. Coach Molly Imel said that Smith likely suffered a mild concussion and Witchey may have done the same.

That could have easily deflated the Chargers, but to their credit they kept fighting until the final whistle. Brandie Harris made a long run down the right side and tried to cross to Benedetto, but San Marcos keeper Kaitlyn Mendoza beat her to it. The Chargers had two more free kicks before the game ended, but they couldn’t capitalize.

“Even though we were defeated in the score, we weren’t defeated in spirit or team effort. This is a tough one to swallow,” said Imel. “This team has never experienced a two-player loss like that, and everybody completely stepped it up… Credit to San Marcos for putting a great game together. We just had some unacceptable breakdowns.”

Imel was particularly happy with the play of Kristen Kolegraff up top, as well as Marina Plesons. She said that if it were not for Plesons the scoring gap might have been wider.

San Marcos, meanwhile, was relieved to get a league win under its belt, particularly on Senior Night.

“It’s nice, because obviously this has been a really tough season so we’re just playing for pride,” said Martinez. “We’ve played good soccer this year, we just haven’t finished.”

The Chargers (8-8-6, 4-3-1 Channel League) host Laguna Blanca on Tuesday while the Royals (1-5-1 Channel League) finish up league play at Ventura.


  1. Goalie for San Marcos is Kaitlyn Mendoza (not Martinez)

  2. Goalie for San Marcos is Kaitlyn Mendoza (not Martinez)

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