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January 20, 2010 > JV Vikings out-battle Warriors

JV Vikings out-battle Warriors

Submitted By Paul Dunn
Photos By Ed Ohye

Irvington High School girls JV soccer just finished the first half of the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) season with a record of 3-2-1. On Thursday, Jan. 14, the Vikings started the second half of the season against Mission San Jose High School, who had beaten them decisively in their first encounter in December.

This time, however, the Irvington team felt confident it could get a good result as the team had been improving all season and knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Warrior team.

Irvington started the game on the offense as it wanted to take the game to Mission and not let the Warriors settle into their normal passing game. The strategy worked and Mission struggled to get the ball out of its own half due to the constant pressure from the Irvington team.

Irvington's first real chance came soon enough as it got a free kick about 30 yards from the Mission goal; Rhian Dunn struck a fine shot which was just tipped over the crossbar by the Mission goalie for a corner. Minutes later, Sarina Utamsing drove into the heart of the Mission defense and whipped a shot just wide of the goal. Irvington's pressure continued and 20 minutes into the game the Mission defense failed to clear a corner which fell to Utamsing who quickly controlled the bobbling ball and passed it toward Marissa Lee who prodded the ball home through a melee of defenders to give Irvington a 1-0 advantage.

Finally, 10 minutes from halftime, Sachi Patel ran onto a throw-in and stormed down the right wing before hammering a high ball towards the goal. Once again, the Mission defense failed to properly clear the ball and Patel, who had continued her run towards goal, latched onto the rebound and poked it past the keeper to make it 2-0 Vikings.

The second half continued just like the first half with the Vikings pressing forward. A long shot from Utamsing beat the keeper, only to hit the underside of the crossbar and bounce away much to the relief of the Warrior supporters.

Molly Cory, Jocelyn Chiou and Rachel Heng all went close before Patel almost stretched the Viking lead but saw her narrow angle effort harmlessly bounce off the post for a goal kick. In the final minutes, Mission tried desperately to even the score and pressed forward to get a goal. The Irvington defense was up to the challenge with Aileen Cheng and Tiffany Sarchet doing a great job of stopping the dangerous Mission center forward.

With less than five minutes to go, Mission thought it had a breakthrough when an Irvington defender was called for a handball in the goal area and a penalty awarded. As the penalty was about to be taken, Irvington goalie Zarin Khan remained a picture of calmness and made a great save to maintain the clean sheet, and Irvington went on to the 2-0 win.

"I have never seen a more dedicated and determined team in all my years of coaching," said Irvington JV Coach Lynn Cooper. "We have worked hard together and are very proud of our ladies."

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