Girls Soccer: Rangers end their season with a quarterfinal loss

After narrowly defeating Arroyo Grande in the first round, the Rangers fell to Clovis in the Division I valley quarterfinal match

Krissy Hetherington
Special to the Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – Redwood Girls Soccer has a strong reputation in the Central Section with impressive statistics within the West Yosemite League. On Feb. 14, the team, coached by Jason Vieira, was stopped short of their goal of another valley title, which they haven’t won since 2017.

Redwood swept the WYL going 10-0 and outscoring their league opponents 44-4. The girls captured their 9th League Championship in a row halfway through their second round of league after beating Hanford, 2-0. 

Evan House led the team and league in goals scored, finishing the season with 32. Her last goal of her high school career came in the last minute of last Wednesday’s first round playoff game.

Kelsey Konishi and Payton Basso held it down on the defensive line followed by freshman goalie, Olivia Saenez, who made four crucial saves throughout the night. Also in the mix for most of the game was Sydney Somavia who controlled the midfield. 

On the offensive end, the first goal came from Marisa Perez early in the first half to tie the game, 1-1. After halftime, Basso connected with Ashley Wainwright for a throw in and header into the goal box to take the 2-1 lead.

Arroyo Grande scored for the last time to tie the game, 2-2 but with about 2 minutes left, House found the net off a pass from Wainwright in the goal box to win the game, 3-2.

“I had total confidence that we would finish the game because our team is kind of known for finishing in the last few minutes,” House said. “But finally finishing that last goal, after having missed a few goal opportunities earlier in the game… in the last couple minutes from Ashley’s beautiful assist was very exciting and relieving.”

After she graduates, House will continue to play soccer and has signed to play for Long Beach State next season. 

Wainwright was all over the field as she has been a key factor to the team’s successful season. She followed behind House in league rankings with 14 goals. 

“We did have some individual efforts [that carried us to the win]…we usually have a well-rounded effort but we just didn’t get that so it was the older experienced girls like Konishi, Wainwright, and Perez that put the team on their backs and carried us to the win,” Vieira said.

Since they won the Central Section Division II Valley Championship 3 years ago, Redwood has struggled to dominate in Division I by not having a strong league for competition.

“I really don’t think our league prepared us for playoffs at all. Going from games being over at halftime in league then going into the playoffs where every team is good and has studs, it’s a hard adjustment,” Vieira said. 

Redwood hasn’t been able to face off against Clovis and coastal schools since late December so the speed and physicality of their games against Arroyo Grande and Clovis felt unprepared for.

On Friday, Redwood struggled to score against Clovis and ended their season in a 2-0 loss. 

Although, the Rangers will be losing 10 seniors, the strong soccer program shows no signs of letting up in the years to follow. 

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