GSoc: Royals regain footing with win over DP

San Marcos Girls Soccer

Hugs all around for San Marcos’ girls soccer team following the Royals’ first goal of Thursday’s Channel League game against Dos Pueblos. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Two second-half goals lifted San Marcos’ girls soccer team over Dos Pueblos in Thursday’s Channel League game decided 2-1 at Warkentin Stadium.

Olivia Jones scored the game-winner in the 73rd minute on a phantom assist from Kaitlyn Saperstein. Tasha Wood made the cross and earned the assist but Saperstein helped make the play happen.

“I saw that Olivia was behind me and I pretended like I was going to head the ball, but I let it go over my head and she just smashed it into the goal,” Saperstein explained.

Saperstein had scored San Marcos’ first goal earlier in the half and drew extra attention from the Charger defenders. The junior’s goal was her team leading eighth of the season.

“This has been Kaitlyn’s year. She has truly shown what she’s made of,” said Royals head coach Macie Berlin. “She’s got the most skilled feet of anybody. She’s so quick. She can jump five feet higher than their tallest defender and the girls love to play with her. She shares the ball well, she’s our leading scorer, it just goes to show how versatile she is.”

San Marcos vs. Dos Pueblos girls soccer

Dos Pueblos’ goal scorer, Stephanie Romero, battles in the midfield with San Marcos’ Ashley Carney.

Equally important to San Marcos’ victory was the play of goalkeeper Hannah Harrah. Dos Pueblos saw their chance at outscoring the Royals snuffed out by Harrah.

“Emotionally the girls are a little bit down right now but I thought they played well tonight,” said Dos Pueblos head coach Hugh Hollis. “We’ve had this type of season where we’ve been getting opportunities, just haven’t been putting them away. We just have to pick ourselves up and keep going on.”

Harrah made at least two saves that would have been goals on most high school keepers. She totaled six saves and cleared away many other balls with her foot.

“She was outstanding tonight,” Hollis said. “I think she certainly makes a difference for the San Marcos team, so all credit goes to Hannah. She’s an outstanding goalkeeper.”

Harrah said that the Royals were extra motivated after a 5-0 loss to Buena that didn’t sit well with the team.

“We had one of the roughest games against Buena. It stung really bad,” Harrah said. “We definitely didn’t use our teamwork and the bond that we have. We kind of let it get to us and this game was the game to bring it all back.

“It really showed on the field.”

Saperstein agreed.

“We were really pumped. Everyone wanted the win and we got it.”

Dos Pueblos took a 1-0 lead in the final minute of the first half on a successful penalty kick by Stephanie Romero. Idalis Rodrigues created the opportunity by taking a ball in the center midfield and angling downfield towards the sideline. She crossed it back into the middle to Romero who was tackled in the box while taking a shot.

The end result boosts San Marcos (2-2-2) ahead of the Chargers (2-4-1) in the league standings. While undefeated Buena remains in first, the Royals have taken over second place with eight points to Dos Pueblos’ seven.

Dos Pueblos ends its regular season next Thursday at Ventura.

The Royals host Santa Barbara on Saturday and Ventura on Tuesday.

“It was important to win this game and go into Santa Barbara and Ventura showing that we’re not just a tying team, you know, that we can take a W away,” Berlin said.