Girls’ Soccer Ties While Maintaining First-Place in League


Bia Shok

Offensive midfielder and freshman Jenna Verplancke takes possession of the ball, blocking a pass from the Trojans. Eventually, Verplancke was able to bring the ball near the goal of the Bulldogs’ side of the field but failed to additionally score during the second half.

Girls’ soccer (6-1-2) tied 1-1 against University High in the stadium on Jan. 21, following a win against Laguna Hills High on Jan. 19. Their next game is scheduled to take place at Great Park Field against Beckman High on Jan. 28.

Throughout the first half, the Bulldogs maintained steady possession as the midfielders passed the ball to each other before finding center forward and senior Christine Chang for multiple shots at goal. At the 28-minute mark, the referee called a foul in favor of the Bulldogs. Offensive midfielder and freshman Jenna Verplancke took the shot and barely missed the crossbar.

As a result of another foul with 27 minutes left, the Bulldogs’ got a kick, where Verplancke scored the first goal of the game from the 35-yard line.

While the Bulldogs managed to counter the Trojans’ tall defensive line by swiftly passing through the midfield, heavy winds were an unanticipated obstacle for both teams.

“I think I played decently,” defensive midfielder and freshman Itzely Garcia-Montero said. “Not blaming the weather conditions for my playing performance, but that affected us because the ball goes in the air and flies another way, and everyone is just running all over the place.”

During halftime, head girls’ varsity soccer coach Jeralyn Newton and assistant girls’ varsity soccer coach Kelli Moline advised players on their current strategy, highlighting the importance of communication, being proactive in anticipating opponent moves and staying strong with man-to-man defense.

“We needed to communicate better and stay organized both offensively and defensively,” Moline said. “There were a lot of times where we just weren’t on the same page as the team, so just continuing to communicate and find our organization and find our possession.”

In the second half, the Bulldogs fouled at the 31-minute mark, followed by the Trojans’ foul a minute later. The Bulldogs stayed aggressive with center back and senior Sarah Ibrahim’s slide tackles, shots by Chang and quick passes, but the opposing team scored a goal with five minutes left on the clock, resulting in a tie of 1-1.

Although the Bulldogs’ were unable to secure a win, Ibrahim said she is optimistic about the team’s progression moving forward in the league.

“We’re in a really good place,” Ibrahim said. “We are really happy, we put in the effort, we worked our butts off, and it showed up in our results and our scores. And that’s something that’s different from the previous years, so it’s like a good feeling to have.”