By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
EXETER – When the Monarchs and the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers meet there is only one record that matters, and that’s how many consecutive times one team has defeated the other. In the last season and a half, a new record began with Exeter defeating CVC 1-0 on Friday, Jan. 4. This is Exeter’s third straight win over CVC. Before that Exeter was winless all the way back before 2007.
“Anytime you get a win over CVC, you smile and walk away,” Exeter head coach Darin Lasky said.
The possession battle is an area of the game which is intensified when the Monarchs (3-4-1, 2-0) and the Cavaliers (2-7, 1-1) both step on the field together. On this night it was clearly the Monarchs who won that battle within the game. According to Lasky, the Monarchs possessed the ball 70 percent of the eighty-minute clock.
The duo of two of Exeter’s more seasoned players, Julia Nelson and Lexe Cortez, were in on every Exeter attack. It was Lasky’s hope when he was forced to make lineup changes due to injuries toward the end of Exeter’s non-league schedule that this duo would in fact begin to team up.
“Now that we’ve played it enough, those two are beginning to see it,” Lasky said.
The first ten minutes of the game was controlled by CVC until Nelsen fired Exeter’s first shot on goal from 25 yards away in the 13th minute. From then on Exeter had another five solid scoring chances.
In the 23rd minute came one of Exeter’s best scoring opportunities. Cortez gained control of the ball at the top of the penalty box and fired a shot. CVC’s goal keeper had to dive to her right to make the save, but a rebound stayed in the box. The ball exchanged a couple kicks before CVC was finally able to clear it.
The amount of chances Exeter had in the scoreless first half it was only a matter of time before they capitalized on one, and it came just eight minutes into the second half.
The ball was passed up to Denise Guzman, who remained on side. Then both Guzman and Nelsen were behind the defenders. When both players got into the middle of the box Guzman passed the ball to Nelsen on her right side.
CVC’s goal keeper had already committed to stopping a shot from Guzman which allowed Nelsen a better angle at an open net, and sure enough Nelsen scored in the right corner to make it 1-0.
“It was a beautiful play,” Nelsen said. “We practice those often, but under the pressure [Guzman] did great. It was good for the team all-around.”
In the final ten minutes CVC turned their aggressive play, which they had played with all game, up a notch. On three separate occasion in the last ten minutes CVC defenders brought down three Exeter players with the ball from behind. While, a steal occurred for CVC no cards were issued.
“Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches,” Lasky said.
The win over CVC has Exeter in a three-way tie for first place in the Central Sequoia League with the Kingsburg Vikings and Dinuba Emperors.
Exeter will face both teams in the coming weeks but first must survive a trap game at home tomorrow night against the Hanford West Huskies. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
“This league is just super tough,” Lasky said. “We’ve got to hold up under pressure a little better and that is our youth for us, but day by day we are going to get better.”