Exeter Giants execute on the pitch

COS Women’s soccer coach Osama Hamid is thankful for the soccer talent in the Foothills this season as half of his team is made up of players from Exeter, Lindsay and Strathmore High Schools.

2011 Exeter High School Grad Melissa Leyva is having a breakout season in her first year on the Giants team. The state track star traded her spikes for cleats this fall and is leading the Giants in scoring as a forward with 11 goals. She led the team to a 5-4 win over Victor Valley College on Tuesday, Sept. 18, scoring four goals on assists from Exeter pal Brooke Smith. Smith scored one goal herself in the Victor Valley game.

“Brooke is a savvy player,” Hamid said of the sophomore Giant. “We can see things in her that she can’t see in herself. If she can break out, she’ll be unstoppable. She is our go-to player.”

The game against Victor Valley showed the Giants resilience. Trailing 4-3 with just six minutes left on the clock, the Giants put two away to take down the non-conference opponent.

“We’re more up than down this season and we have developed the confidence that we can win games, and also that we can win close games,” Hamid said.

Following their win over Victor Valley, the Giants struggled against Bakersfield College on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at Visalia’s Neighborhood Church. The game went scoreless the first 20 minutes with Bakersfield outshooting the Giants 5-2.  Hamid subbed out starting keeper Natalie Ramirez, also an Exeter grad.

Thirty minutes in to the half, Bakersfield put away their first goal of the afternoon when the COS keeper slipped. They scored one more as the first half wound down. A hand ball in the box awarded Bakersfield a penalty kick to put the score at 2-0 as the halftime whistle blew.

In the second half, starting keeper Natalie Ramirez went back into the goal. The Giants stepped up to play a much better second half, maintaining control for most of the last 30 minutes. Still, Bakersfield held the lead and finished the game 3-0 with a 3-0 win. “We took three shots in the last 10 minutes,” Hamid said. “We need to work a little harder to get possession and make it harder for the other team to play.”

Lindsay 2012 graduate Cecilia Mendez and Strathmore 2011 graduates Andrea Gutierrez and Breanna Rodriguez also saw playing time against Bakersfield.

“From this game, we know to never give up, we have a lot to take away,” Gutierrez said. She’s adjusted well to playing holding midfield and she attributes the easy transition to college level play to strong coaching from Hamid and his staff.

“We’ll pick ourselves up for the next game,” Mendez added.

The Lady Giants will return to the soccer field to host Lassen College at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28 and Shasta at noon on Saturday, Sept. 29 in a four-team rotation

Start typing and press Enter to search