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RedHawks blank Trojans, earn berth in title game
A week after Durham High shocked Pierce with a late goal, the Trojans were locked in a scoreless tie at halftime against Colusa and that made Randy Watt a little bit nervous.
The top-seeded RedHawks soothed Watt's fears with a second-half surge to win 2-0 on Tuesday and advance to the Northern Section Division III championship game against No. 3 seed Williams Saturday in Colusa.
"I was a little worried that something weird was going to happen because Pierce pretty much dominated that game and all of a sudden (Durham) put in a weird goal, it was a good goal, but it wasn't something that you'd expect to beat you," he said.
Colusa (10-3-1, 5-1) dominated the first half but an incredible display of goalkeeping from Courtney Copper kept the game scoreless. Copper's play in goal was one of the main reasons the Trojans escaped Arbuckle with a victory last week, and she was just as good in the first half against the RedHawks.
The upstart No. 5 seed Trojans (5-7-4, 1-4-1) hadn't mustered many shots on offense, but the top-seeded RedHawks couldn't find the net either, despite nearly a dozen quality looks at the goal.
Less than a minute into the second half that all changed, when RedHawks senior forward Kaytlin Lorenzini drew in the Trojans' defense and passed to midfielder Rebecca Velasquez for a goal that broke the scoreless stalemate.
After stretching the Trojan defense with her speed, it was the times Lorenzini let off the throttle that the RedHawks offense punched through for a point.
"(Lorenzini) for as hard as she works, always would take that ball down the side and then either try to shoot it or cross it from impossible angles," Watt said. "We worked on stopping the ball, passing it back... she did it twice and we scored both times."
The second goal came in the 61st minute when Lorenzini once again drew the attention of the Trojan defense and Velasquez kicked in the loose ball from outside the penalty box for a 2-0 lead.
Velasquez missed most of the RedHawks' season because of an eligibility issue, but drew upon a lifetime of experience to help find her place in the middle of the offense.
"Communication is (important) we talked a lot during practice and we practiced every day," Velasquez said. "I've been playing for a long time, since I was four."
The sophomore's ability to control the ball in the middle of the field makes a big difference in the RedHawks' offense, Watt said.
Today, Colusa and Williams (6-5-2, 1-3-2) will face off in the section title game for the third year in a row. The RedHawks won the section title both times previously in penalty-kick shootouts.
Earlier this season, Colusa beat the Yellowjackets 2-1 and 3-0.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.