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Girls soccer hold Tigers at bay until overtime defeat

Sadie Cederlind has her eye on the ball during a recent home soccer match. Photo by Eden Marshall

The Atascadero High School girls soccer team and San Luis Obispo High faced off on Jan. 22, with both teams on a impressive five-game winning streak. The Hounds were playing a home game against one of the strongest local teams, and held the game scoreless with regulation and even had the Tigers on the ropes for a long time, but couldn't connect to the final third of the field to score any points. At the time SLO was ranked 4th in the division, 6th in their section, and is one of the top teams in Mountain League with a 16-2-1 record. the Hounds faced a very tough opponent.

Although Atascadero could not score any points, they almost got on the board early in the match because the Tigers’ goalie missed a kick, which made the ball fall right onto the feet of AHS senior Haley Pires, who unfortunately was unable to shoot when she was swarmed by two defenders.

Late in the first half, the Hounds found an opportunity to shake the opposing team with a counter attack. After a push by SLO, Pires played the ball off to sophomore Morgan Ramos, who cut back on one defender and fired a left-footed strike from the top of the box that skipped into the arms of the diving keeper.

“The game against SLO was challenging, but definitely a game to remember,” said Ramos after the game. “We played with our hearts and played the game to its full potential.”

Claire Lohayza, the senior keeper for Atascadero, made several diving saves throughout the game, but one of the best came in the first 10 minutes of the match, when the Tigers counterattacked off an Atascadero possession. Coming down the visitors’ sidelines, the ball forced Lohayza to get up and try to grab the ball, but it's sheer force pushed it through her hands, and against the top of the bar.

As Lohayza continued to make saves into the second half of the game, the Tigers put up a strong defense against the Hounds. After two 40 minutes halves, with two overtime periods still to come, the game was still tied at 0.

After only 20 seconds into the first period of overtime, Lohayza made another outstanding save and immediately started pushing the other team. The Tigers took advantage of the slowness following the save to score the game's first goal in a corner kick.

“I don’t think there's anymore we could have done,” said Ramos. “We left everything on the field, but it unfortunately didn’t end up in our favor.”

Atascadero is now ranked as the No. 10 team in Division 1 with a impressive 13-5-4 (7-3 league) record, and is currently in third place in the Mountain League, just behind 9-1 SLO, and 8-2 Arroyo Grande.

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