After beginning the season with a 6-1-1 record, the Lions went into league play with high expectations. The first game of GSAC was a tie versus the number one team in the country, Azusa Pacific. The Lions were ranked number six nationally. Since then, it has been an uphill battle for the girls in league play, struggling to get positive results.
The Lions were going into Saturday night’s home game versus Fresno Pacific with a four-game losing streak, needing a win to keep their post-season hopes alive. They have not been playing badly enough to lose four games in a row.
“We’ve been playing good but just haven’t been getting the results,” junior Kat McDonald said.
The previous two losses going into Saturday night’s games were excruciating: 1-2 losses versus Concordia. Lastly, there was a double overtime loss in the last minute of the game. There was a questionable call by the referee–it appeared Vanguard made an excellent save, but the ref called it a goal.
Before Saturday night’s game senior captain Ivana Mendez gave the team members an inspiring devotional to pump them up. Also, coach Dodge played a clip from the movie “Any Given Sunday” to keep the team focused on the task at hand. The Lions came into the game needing to win two out of their last three games to make it to the GSAC conference tournament.
The game was beginning to look like the games in the past for the Lions, where the team outplayed its opponents but just wasn’t putting the ball in the net. The score was deadlocked 0-0 at halftime. Things changed when senior Danielle Dintino put one in the back of the net to give the Lions a 1-0 lead. Later in the second half, senior Karri Courier got an excellent cross from junior Gabriela Valles and put it in the goal with her left. To top off an outburst of scoring, Courier put in a free kick from about forty yards to give the Lions a commanding 3-0 victory. Freshman goalkeeper Chelsea Lesniak came up with big saves for the Lions to shut out Fresno.
The Lions have ended the four game skid with an impressive route of Fresno Pacific.
“I don’t know what the difference was other than we were able to finish our shots,” senior Jessi Castro said.
The girls have been outplaying their opponents during this losing streak but have not gotten the results they wanted.
“We finally did what we always knew we could do. We’re the better team, we’ve always been the better team,” Castro said.
Right now, the Lions are ranked 21st in the national polls, and look to improve on that as they play Biola University at home on the Wednesday Oct. 27 at 4:30 p.m.