The Dos Pueblos girls soccer team turned in a complete-game performance and beat Lompoc, 2-0, on a cold, breezy evening at Scott O’Leary Stadium to take over first place in the Channel League with one game remaining.
Gizela Zermeno scored in the second minute and Precious Nwosu added the second goal seven minutes into in the second half on a well-executed corner kick play.
The Chargers continued creating chances on offense and played superbly at the defensive end in handing Lompoc its first loss of the season. The defending league champions are now 6-1-2 in league (20 points) and hold a two-point lead over the Braves, who are 5-1-3 (18 points) and 10-1-6 overall.
Dos Pueblos ends the league season Wednesday at home against third-place Santa Barbara on Senior Night. Lompoc hosts Santa Ynez.
“It’s super good, it’s going to keep our energy up for our next game against Santa Barbara,” said Kling of the win over the Braves that vaulted DP into first place.
Kling was part of a tremendous defensive effort by the Chargers that stymied Lompoc’s dangerous players Ayziah Simmons and Katie Guzman.
“We all played really well,” said Kling. “I think we held (Simmons) off pretty well. She’s pretty fast, but we stayed together and we were communicating and we were stepping well.”
Zermeno gave a shout out to Kling and Sadie Stout for their solid defending against Simmons and Guzman.
“She’s a fast player but I give kudos to my girl Emilia for being able to shut (Simmons) down,” said Zermeno.
On Stout containing Guzman, she said: “No. 8 was pretty technical and I give kudos to my girl Sadie for being able to force her out wide, and Charlotte (Sinclair) was able to win the ball and play it out.”
When Guzman and Simmons got some good looks at the goal in the first half, DP goalkeeper Bella Vasquez came through each time.
In the 26th minute, Vasquez blocked a hard shot by Guzman and then snuffed out a rebound attempt by Avigail Anguiano. A minute later, Guzman turned on the ball and ripped a shot that Vasquez covered.
In 30th minute, Simmons broke free of a defender and fired a 20-yard shot on goal that Vasquez was able to handle.
“She saved us a couple of times. “She had some great saves out there,” said Kling.
“She’s just able to track the balls right now and is focusing on the little things that result in big things like a clean sheet,” said DP coach Seth Asuncion of Vasquez.
Zermeno’s early goal was a big moment for her and DP. She stunned the Lompoc goalkeeper with a blast from 30 yards.
“I’m like one of the youngest members, so I was really happy that everyone was cheering me on. I love my team, I like my sisters, so it’s nice.”
Zermeno’s corner kick set up the second goal. She sent the ball to the top part of the 18-yard box, where Kling headed it diagonally toward the far post. Kinnaman and Nwosu were both there and Kinnaman got her head on the ball and nodded it on goal. The ball was blocked but Nwosu used her kick feet to knock it past the defender and goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead.
“I kind of just aim for the front of the goal,” Kling said of her header. “Either go for the goal or get it in front so someone could finish it.”
Kling felt DP’s performance was one of its best of the season.
“We had a great team effort. Everyone was out there working their best and we connected really well throughout the entire game, which was awesome.”
Said Asuncion of the team’s play: “It was solid. I think the girls really took it to heart, just fighting back and getting the result they wanted after the disappointing time we played them in Lompoc (a 1-1 draw). They came to training on Saturday and they put in the hard work and they’ve been putting in the hard work ever since, and it seems to be paying off.
“The team is jelling, working for one another and playing as a whole team and a unit. And the results are showing.”
— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
Precious Nwosu finishes a well-executed corner kick play against Lompoc. Emilia Kling heads the ball forward to Gigi Kinnaman whose header is blocked at the goal-line but put away by Nwosu for a 2-0 lead. The Chargers won 2-0 and took over first place in the Channel League. pic.twitter.com/rR9ZszyzTO
— NoozhawkSports (@NoozhawkSports) February 4, 2020