Girls Soccer: Tulare Western Mustangs move to first in EYL

Tulare Western defeats Tulare Union 1-0 in overtime as they take over the top spot in the EYL

TULARE – No matter the sport, the Tulare Western and Tulare Union rivalry is always a competitive matchup. Last Tuesday was much the same as the two teams needed an overtime period to crown a winner as the Mustangs came out with a 1-0 victory and they now sit alone atop the East Yosemite League (EYL) standings with one more week left in the season.

Both coaches agreed that the better team didn’t win the match. Tulare Western head coach Scott Rogers deems his team didn’t play their best game against their cross-town rivals, but they were resilient and held on through overtime. It was Tulare Union who controlled the ball for most of the game and had more shots on goal, but Mustang senior goalkeeper Yasmin Pinzon kept them in it by allowing no goals. According to Rogers, Pinzon has been instrumental to Tulare Western’s 4-0 EYL record and she has kept her team in a lot of games.

“We’re not in position to win the game without the keeper and her performance tonight. It was really phenomenal and I was really proud of her,” Rogers said.

The teams headed into the second overtime period still tied at 0. At that point, the Mustangs began taking advantage of their minimal opportunities on offense. With three minutes remaining, junior Aubrey Salazar passed the ball up the field to herself and single handedly took on several defenders before cutting inside. She made her way into the congested box and the ball fell to her left foot before she knocked it into the back of the net for the game winning goal.

It was a rewarding moment for Salazar as she scored with her non-dominant foot which has been a struggle for her in the past. She’s been dedicating time in practice to hone that skill and her efforts paid off during a clutch moment for her team. Salazar along with senior Amari Bailey have carried the load offensively for the Mustangs as they are the team leaders in goals scored.

Both teams came into the match with an undefeated EYL record, so now Tulare Western controls their own fate if they want to dethrone Tulare Union as league champions. The two teams will meet again next Thursday, May 13 for the final game of the season, which could possibly be a showdown for first.

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