Women’s Soccer: Valley College nearly left Santa Monica with three points, but will settle for a point after a clutch road draw.
By Jorge Belon, Editor in Chief
After 28 combined tackles, 12 fouls and one ejection, the Lady Monarchs and the Santa Monica College Corsairs (SMC) settled for a physical 2-2 draw on a thrilling Friday afternoon at Corsairs Stadium.
“I told you they [Santa Monica College] were not going to be so lucky this time around,” said Monarch goalkeeper Athena Del Rosario. “As coach [Head Coach Greg Venger] said we did not tie them, they tied us this time.”
Both offenses came out running as the teams combined for thirty-four shots, forcing Del Rosario and SMC goalie Jessica Ibarra to accumulate 24 saves.
In the 5th minute, the Corsairs struck when forward Cheyenne Del Los Reyes ran into the penalty box, controlled a cross from teammate Mindy Labayen, and placed the ball into the back of the net to give SMC the early 1-0 lead.
The Lady Monarchs responded just three minutes later when midfielder Miriam Ramirez — now tied for Valley’s goal-scoring lead— notched her ninth of the season. Ramirez displayed killer instinct, pouncing on the loose ball in the box despite numerous Corsairs attempting to clear the ball from her. Unfazed, Ramirez blasted it into the back of the net to tie the match at 1-1 in the 8th minute.
The score seemed to lift Valley’s confidence, and they began to put immense pressure on the Santa Monica back line. Using their physicality and speed, the Lady Monarchs kept the Corsairs defense on their toes and attempting to grow eyes from the back of their heads as Valley wingers zoomed down the sidelines.
At the 22nd minute, Valley’s consistent attack broke the back line, thanks to midfielder Bernice Garcia’s stubborn play in the box. Garcia found the ball in the crowd and took the close-range shot, but Ibarra got a hand on the ball. Garcia quickly recovered the rebound with Ibarra forcing her left to shut down her angle. Despite the difficult shot, Garcia still managed to squeak the ball into the back of the net to give Valley the 2-1 lead.
After the ladies in green went ahead the temperature on the field rose, as tackles and elbows began to happen more than passes being completed. All the tension finally blew over when Corsairs midfielder Cheyenne De Los Reyes and injured reserve Monarch defender Charlene Parrales shared words face to face, and the confrontation ended with 5 foot 6 inches Parrales pushing the 6 foot 3 inches SMC midfielder, the Valley player would get ejected from the game.
Valley carried the lead into the break, leaving Santa Monica bewildered and staggering to the sidelines.
However, in the second half the SMC offense began to fire on all cylinders. Desperate to tie the game, Santa Monica took 13 of their 22 shots in the final 45 minutes. But Del Rosario would frustrate the Corsairs attack, by making 15 saves. It would take a well placed shot to the bottom right hand corner of the net, from the speedy SMC forward Jayma Martin to finally tie the match at 2-2 in the 50th minute.
After that goal, neither team would be able to score again as the match ended in a 2-2 satisfying road tie for the Monarchs. But for Santa Monica, failing to win would drop them to second place in the WSC South.
“To get a 2-2 draw against one of the top teams in the conference is a big thing,” said Del Rosario, with an eye toward making the playoffs with the conference’s complicated “power points” system. “Yes we would have loved to win this game, but we didn’t. However, this result will give us major power points and it will send a message throughout the conference.”
The Lady Monarchs return home on Tuesday after going undefeated on their four-game road trip to face Antelope Valley College at 4 p.m. at Monarch Stadium.