Senior Olivia Vasquez scores in the final minute of the second overtime period to clinch a win for the Exeter Monarchs over the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers
VISALIA – The Exeter Monarchs defeated the CVC Cavaliers 2-1 thanks to a last minute goal after being locked in a tie for 99 minutes of play.
After a scoreless first half and trading twin goals in the second half that tied the game and sent them into double overtime, the CVC Cavaliers and the Exeter Monarchs seemed to be on their way to putting a tie on their records. With just two minutes on the clock, Monarch forward Olivia Vasquez spun through the Cavalier defense and scored a winning overtime goal. A few seconds after kicking off again, the official blew the whistle and the Monarchs returned home with a 2-1 victory.
“We’ve been struggling lately,” Exeter head coach Darin Lasky said. “We’ve had some injuries, some sickness. We’ve had people out. We had a starter out tonight. It wasn’t pretty but the girls stayed positive with each other and hung in there.”
After nearly 100 minutes of aggressive, back-and-forth soccer, neither the Monarchs nor the Cavaliers were backing off. Both teams were evenly matched and both teams wanted to win. The goalies had made save after save. Each defense cleared the ball time after time. As the clock froze at the two minute mark, it felt as if neither team would get to take home the win.
Vasquez got the ball at the center of the field, just outside the Cavaliers’ goal box. She spun around the center defender, kicking the ball through her legs. Open in the center of the goal box, Vasquez pulled off the winning shot, sending the ball past senior goalie Preslee Schakel’s outstretched hands.
“I thought we did enough to at least take a tie out of this game,” CVC head coach Jacob DeGroot said. “In the final minutes, they managed to slip one in. But that’s what good teams do. When you make mistakes, they punish you for it.”
The two defenses were the stars of the game. CVC and Exeter have different offensive styles, so their defenses had to be on the ball. CVC runs a direct attack with their offense, while Exeter tends to pass around their opponent. Both seemed to be up against a wall.
“Defensively we had to make an adjustment,” Lasky said. “They didn’t penetrate very often. Except when we got a little nervous after they scored that second goal.”
The second goal of the night came less than a minute after the first one. Freshman Cooper Piepgrass scored the first goal off of a corner kick after 70 minutes of play. Immediately after the kickoff, CVC took the ball into Exeter’s zone. Freshman Reagan Neese and junior Taylie Avila took possession of the ball from a Monarch defender. Neese sent a tiny pass to Avila and Avila sent it straight into the net.
Back at square one of being faced with a tie on their records, the teams continued to battle it out through the final ten minutes of regulation. As the game ended, they took a short break before lining up for even more intense soccer. Ten minutes of overtime and it was still 1-1. It would take nine more minutes of battling back and forth for Vasquez to decide the game.
At halftime, the Cavaliers celebrated senior night. They honored the six graduating seniors: Schakel, Campbell Todd, Caitlyn Chea, Renee Vander Tuig, Ciara Pinter and Heiltje De Jong. After the ceremony, the CVC seniors walked across the field and presented bouquets of flowers to the seniors from Exeter, who will be honored on their home field during their game against Kingsburg on Feb. 9.
This is the second meeting between the Monarchs and the Cavaliers this season. On Jan. 18 the Monarchs shut out the Cavaliers with a score of 2-0 at home. The Cavaliers had hoped to pull off a win over their rivals in their second meeting. Even a tie would have helped them in the standings. Exeter is second in the Tri-County Kings Canyon league with a 5-2 record, while CVC is third with a 2-4 record.
Exeter only has one league game remaining before playoff brackets are determined. They’ll have to hope that CVC is able to beat Kingsburg in their next game on Feb. 7, then beat the Vikings themselves in order to tie them for first place. Since the Vikings beat Kerman while the Monarchs were playing the Cavaliers, there is no hope of Kingsburg losing fewer games than Exeter, allowing the Monarchs to take first.
The Exeter Monarchs have a crossover game with Selma on Feb. 7. Since it’s a non-league game, the outcome won’t affect their league standing.