By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
LINDSAY – Exeter had to do without their last line of defense, goal keeper Taylor Hornburg, for the majority of the 2018 season after she suffered a torn Achilles. When she returned shortly after Central Sequoia League play began she made an immediate impact between the pipes. The Monarchs won back-to-back games over the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers for the first time since both teams joined the league in 2009. After the Monarchs lost to the Foothill Trojans 4-3 in the quarterfinals of the Division IV Valley Playoffs she thought her season was over.
Before heading off to compete at Hawaii-Hilo for the Vulcans, Hornburg stepped on a high school field one last time. Last Friday, she and ex-teammates Brianna Vilafana and Lexe Cortez put on the yellow jerseys of the East squad for the 10th annual East-West girls soccer All-Star game at Lindsay. This was Hornburg’s second appearance in the game.
While the West squad won for the second straight year 3-1 Hornburg went out as the East’s top player. Her performance during the first half of six saves and one goal allowed earned her the East’s Most Valuable Player.
“This was both exciting and sad because most of these girls I’ve been playing with for most of my life and this is the last time I’ll ever play with them,” Hornburg said.
The ex-Monarch goal keeper was tested early on in the contest as the West squad possessed the ball for the first five minutes. In those minutes they had three corner kicks. All of which went through the box without much incident. However, the fourth corner produced the West’s go ahead goal.
The East squad had their offensive chances in the first half. One of them was off the foot of Strathmore’s Brittanny Hefner which sailed wide. She got another chance in the second half from the middle of the penalty box, but it too sailed wide.
“Honestly, I could have done better,” Hefner said. “Just to know the team and playing with them from everywhere was super cool.”
In the second half the West squad added two more goals. One came in the 19th minute off a header from a set piece at mid-field. The second came off a shot from the far corner which bent into the upper right corner of the net.
Between those two goals came the East Squad’s only score. Dinuba’s Cynthia Mendoza took advantage of a rare West mistake when they failed to clear their zone. Mendoza was left alone at the top of the penalty box and rifled a shot into the net. At the time it made the score 2-1.