The West Coast Wildfire U17 girls competed in the first round of knockout Norcal Premier state cup games with a match against the San Juan Blues. The top 32 teams in Northern California are competing to become number 1 in the region. Win or go home, Wildfire scored 3 to San Juan’s 1, sending the Blues packing and moving on to the sweet 16 round.
Overcast in and chilly in a remote area of Sacramento, the West Coast Wildfire U17 faced a scrappy San Juan Blues team in a mid-morning state cup match. At the whistle, Wildfire took control and went on several offensive attacks. The Blues, with a solid midfield and one offensive attacker, managed to advance the ball a few times as well. At the 31st minute in the first half, San Juan was awarded a handball in the box giving them a free shot at scoring first. With a clean strike to the left net, the Blues moved ahead 1-0. But their lead did not last long. At the 40th minutes, Wildfire’s Outside-Mid, Callie Crain, fired a shot from 30 yards out to the left corner of the goal. The half ended with both teams on the board with 1 goal.
At the start of the second half, Wildfire continued their offensive attack. With both teams knowing their fate was on the line, the intensity ratcheted up and so did the level of play. Wildfire turned up the pressure on the Blues and kept the ball in the attacking half of the field. At the 55th minute, Forward Heather Tarabini, attacked and went head to head with the Blues’ Keeper. The Keeper fumbled the ball and Tarabini pounced on the opportunity to make a goal. Wildfire moved ahead 2-1.
With a one-goal advantage, Wildfire knew they needed an insurance goal to close the match out. At the 81st minute, Midfielder Amanda Zeck got the opportunity. A long throw-in to the scrum in the attacking box sent a loose ball out to Zeck just outside the 18. Zeck connected and delivered a volley shot into the left corner of the goal. Wildfire now had a 3-1 lead and closed out the match with a solid victory.