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RedHawks take county clash with Williams
After a slow start to the season, the Colusa High girls soccer team took two big steps forward this week picking up its first two wins of the season.
The RedHawks beat rival Williams High 3-0 on Thursday, making it two in a row after beating Hamilton on Tuesday.
Williams (4-4) held Colusa (2-3-1) scoreless until junior captain Rebecca Velazquez used the brisk wind to her advantage, sending a long shot into the top of the net in the 56th minute for a 1-0 RedHawk lead.
"At halftime I told them, if you're on this side (kicking into the wind) you better put the ball on the ground, on that side, put it in the air because then you can put it in the net," Colusa coach Amanda Jones said.
Four minutes later, sophomore forward Samantha Espindola broke free in the middle and beat the keeper for a 2-0 Colusa lead. Espindola added her second score of the game later in the half, booting in a rebound off a strong shot by Velazquez.
"I think we're starting to work together as a team, our passes are getting a lot better. All the girls are becoming a lot more confident," Jones said.
The Yellowjackets played much better than the final score shows, controlling the pace of the first half while the wind was in their favor, but they couldn't find a way to score.
They had chances. Valeria Salcedo nearly scored in the first half and Celeste Navarro got to the deflection but her kick hit the crossbar.
First-year Williams coach Phyllis Colson, whose father is former Colusa High coach Rick Colson, has a young team with few seniors.
"I've seen a lot of improvement in the last few weeks. They've played really hard and they did a good job in this game — I don't think the play on the field looked like the score does," Colson said.
Colson credited Estefania Aceves, Josiany Madrigal and Salcedo for their hard work and top-notch play on the field.
"We have a team that's getting there but it just takes time. They're great girls, they're a lot of fun and they're spirited," she said.
For Colusa, the victory sends them into the break on a positive note after an injury-riddled slow start. Three starters missed the game on Thursday and several games before that, but should be able to return when the RedHawks return to action on Jan. 8 against Durham.
Without upper classmen Sidney Wills, Coral Imhoff and Nancy Lopez in the lineup, the RedHawks turned to freshman Yesenia Estrada and sophomore Marbella Juarez, and moved starting goalkeeper Ashleigh Biggs onto the field.
"(Estrada's) aggression has been great and she's the only freshman on the team. We're training (Juarez) to take over for Sidney (a senior) at sweeper and the two of them together are doing a great job out there," Jones said.
Junior Jennifer Pulido took over in goal and is quickly improving. Pulido sacrificed her body to take the ball off the foot of a charging Yellowjacket forward in the second half, something she probably wouldn't have done a few games ago, Jones said.
"It's helped our offense a lot (having Biggs play midfield), and also we wanted to be training (Pulido) for next year when (Biggs) is not here and we don't have a keeper," Jones said.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.