Defense helps push Lady Eagles to soccer crown

By: Staff Report
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The Del Oro Lady Eagles girls soccer team is living proof this season that defense does indeed win championships. Thanks to a stout defense that befuddled opposing offenses all season long, Del Oro?s girls parlayed their stinginess on the defensive end of the field to lay claim to this season?s outright Sierra Foothill League championship. The title was the first girls league soccer crown at DO since 1999. ?Our defense has been superb,? said Del Oro coach Ron Benjamin. ?It?s one of the reasons for the success we?ve had this year.? Del Oro has allowed just three goals to be scored against them this season through fourteen matches, which saw the Lady Eagles post a 7-0-7 record. In last Friday?s pivotal home match against Woodcreek with the SFL title on the line, Del Oro squashed any hopes the Timberwolves by scoring a 1-1 tie. The stalemate, which gave Del Oro a SFL final mark of 4-0-6, was good enough to earn the Lady Eagles 18 points and finish ahead of Woodcreek?s 17 points and 4-1-5 record. ?Our philosophy is that everyone defends,? said Benjamin. ?The girls have really bought into that.? Helping spark Del Oro?s defense this season has been freshman Callye Lahmann, sophomores Kayla Collins and Elle Gollnick and junior Kristen Grattan. Rotating goalies ? senior Kelly Edwards and sophomore Taylor Cirksena ? also was outstanding. In the Woodcreek match, all the scoring came in the first half as the Lady Eagles and Timberwolves tied for the second time in two meetings. Del Oro had only allowed two goals through its first nine SFL matches, and allowed Woodcreek?s Lauren Hayano to score in the 11th minute of the match, before coming back to tie the count before halftime on a goal by Kayla Collins. Lauren Gollnick was credited with the assist. Del Oro continued its use of tandem goalies Cirksena and Edwards to help stymie its foes as the duo was credited with two saves in the tie. Del Oro will now turn its attention to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II playoffs. The Lady Eagles will open play next Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., against the winner of today?s out-bracket game between Oakmont and Rosemont. Del Oro defeated Oakmont, 2-1, on March 15 in a non-league match. Other first round match-ups pair Casa Roble and McClatchy, Woodcreek and Kennedy and Bella Vista versus Granite Bay. A Del Oro win next Tuesday would move the Lady Eagles into a semi-final match on May 17 against the McClatchy-Casa Roble winner. Del Oro, by virtue of a higher seed, would host that match. The CIF Div. II finals are then set for Sat. May 19 at Cosumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove with time to be announced.