Roseville quiets Thunder in key SFL soccer contest

By: Kurt Johnson, senior sports editor
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Two teams battling for second place in the Sierra Foothill League girls soccer standings staged a hard-fought physical game in 95-degree heat Wednesday and the result was a classic defensive battle. The contest between Roseville and Rocklin had the look of a scoreless draw most of the way. The clubs tied in their first meeting earlier this season, and while both are in position to claim two of the league’s three postseason berths, each would prefer the No. 2 spot currently occupied by the Thunder (7-2-1 in the SFL, 13-4-1 overall). Wednesday, in a game that was pushed back one day so the Rocklin players could attend the funeral services of a classmate, Roseville prevailed 1-0. Defense was the story of the day as Rocklin’s Savannah Coiner, Megan Hanson and Lauren Orozco led a solid effort to keep the Tigers’ high-energy striker, Megan Looper, and her cohorts from getting anything consistent going in the direction of the goal. On the other end, Elli Tremblay, Kelsey Decarlo, Marissa Lopez and Shea Peters took turns shutting down Thunder runs into the scoring zone. Late in the game, forward Amanda Ellsworth re-entered the contest on the back line and delivered some outstanding minutes for coach Pablo Gutierrez’s defense. “It was a great win,” Gutierrez said. “My entire defense grouped really well.” Both coaches rotated players in and out of the lineup, keeping players fresh to go the distance, but late in the game it was the Roseville group that created and cashed in the scoring opportunity. The goal came 27 minutes into the second half. A Roseville corner kick met with solid resistance from the Rocklin defense, prompting Looper to push the ball back out of the fray to Kelsey Roland, who had taken the corner kick. As the teams scrambled in front of the net, Roland sent a strong cross back into the mix, where Tremblay, pressing forward for the corner kick, headed it home for the game’s only tally. “The goal was a great play by Looper controlling the ball and passing it back to Kelsey Roland,” Gutierrez said. “Her cross was perfectly executed. A great goal by my sweeper, Tremblay, who was ready to go back to defense but noticed that the ball was in our possession. She readjusted and made a great goal.” The Thunder turned up the pressure late, but were unable to find the back of the net as Roseville’s defenders rose to the challenge and preserved the win. Much of the game was a battle of midfielders as Roseville’s Adrianne Bates and Bianca Guzman played well in the matchup with Rocklin’s Jill Bennett and Morgan Throckmorton. The win puts Roseville (5-2-2, 10-3-4) in position to catch the Thunder if it can win its final three league games and have Rocklin lose once. That quest begins for the Tigers tonight at Del Oro (3-4-2, 6-6-2) and then continues with a pair of home games next week against Woodcreek (1-6-2, 5-7-2) and Nevada Union (1-7-2, 3-9-3). Rocklin hosts Oakmont (1-7-1, 4-10-1) tonight, but then finishes out its season next Tuesday with a difficult test, a visit to Granite Bay (10-0-0, 14-2-0). The Rocklin loss to Roseville locked up the Sierra Foothill League championship and top section tournament seed for the Grizzlies.