Last week, the Junior Varsity (JV) Lady Dragon had a soccer match against Cardinal Newman (formerly known as Ursuline). Sonoma went into the game with only 11 players due to injuries and other circumstances. The Cardinal Newman team came into the match with a roster of 27 players – this looked like a tough match to say the least!
During the first 10 minutes of the match, Sonoma lost one of its key defensive players, Raegen Hedley to a sprained ankle. The team was now down to 10 players (teams play with 11 on the field). The Lady Dragon battled to a 0-0 half-time score, playing excellent defense, led by Alejandra Alvarez, Shelley Marmaduke, and Angelica Pena and goalkeeper Christin Silkey. The outstanding defense continued into the second half. Twenty minutes into the second half Sonoma lost their strong midfielder to dehydration; still, they found a way to keep the game a scoreless tie.
About 30 minutes into the second half and close to the end of the match, Rian Verdu found space on the left flank about 30 yards out, cut the ball to her right foot, and unloaded on the Cardinal Newman keeper, who made the save, knocked the ball to ground, only to have Lady Dragon Selena Gutierrez charge in from nowhere to clean up the play, and give the Dragons a 1-0 lead (while playing 2 players down!). The Sonoma defense stayed strong, and while Newman tried and tried and tried, but they just could not get through the Dragon defense. The final whistle blew, and the Lady Dragon along with their home fans went absolutely crazy.
Coach Mike Verdu said it was the most amazing victory he had ever been a part of not only in his 5 years at the high school, but also including his 10 years coaching competitive soccer here in the valley. According to Coach Verdu everybody on the squad played a huge role. Defenders: Alvarez, Marmaduke, Hedley, and Pena. Midfielders Perez-Usher, Burquez, Burningham and Quackenbush. And Strikers Verdu and Gutierrez.
Congratulations and it’s a great day to be a DRAGON!