Girls Soccer: Tulare Union drops home playoff match

Tulare Union loses 3-1 at home in Valley playoffs

TULARE – Last year’s Division II Valley championship runner-up, couldn’t make it out of the first round in this year’s playoffs. Following an East Yosemite League championship win, Tulare Union lost 3-1 to St. Joseph.

Both defenses were aggressive in the first half, with the Tribe having a slight advantage in terms of shots on goal. However it was St. Joseph with the game’s opening goal in the 34th minute. Their junior captain Avery Nelson knocked down an impressive shot from about 20 yards out. Barely any time passed before Tulare Union responded. Moments after returning back into the game from the bench, junior Dalilah Murillo had a one-on-one battle with the goalie who dove for the ball, but Murillo was able to knock it away and have an easy shot on goal.

The teams went into halftime tied at 1-1. Tulare Union head coach Tony Fernandes felt that their opponents simply wanted the ball more, which is what he told his squad at halftime.

“I think the biggest difference [in the game] was they were winning the ball at every cost. They were playing a lot harder than we were,” Fernandes said. “They were just more aggressive and it seemed like they wanted the game more than us.”

Fernandes deems that his team improved coming out of the break, but it wasn’t enough. The Tribe had the advantage in terms of shots on goal, but couldn’t find the back of the net while the Knights capitalized on their few chances.

St. Joseph broke the tie early in the second half. The Tribe had a strong scoring opportunity and made it all the way down the field before the ball was intercepted. The Knights went on a counter attack and went down the sideline for their second score of the game. Fernandes believes his team was a bit deflated following that goal.

The dagger came a bit later in the half following a St. Joseph set piece. There was a lot of confusion in the middle of Tulare Union’s defense which allowed an easy goal to put the Knights up 3-1.

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