There was no mistaking the elation of Modesto Christian High girls’ soccer players as they embraced, cheered and posed for photos following their March 28 Trans-Valley League showdown with Riverbank.
In a game that was supposed to grant the host Bruins their first win of the season, the resilient Crusaders crossed the threshold of an even greater plateau.
A converted penalty kick in the final seconds of the game capped a 6-5 thriller in MC’s favor and granted the program their first conference win since April 27 of 2009 — also a one-goal win over Riverbank.
“I have to give (Modesto Christian) credit, they didn’t give up,” Riverbank coach Martin Gonzales said. “I couldn’t blame them for celebrating like that, because they have had worse seasons than us.
“It was just heartbreak at the end of the game with that PK.”
Lanky MC sophomore Candice White took the last-second free shot on goal and struck the left side of the net to avoid the outstretched arms of Bruin goaltender Monica Lopez. It was White’s fifth score of the game. She had scored just twice in prior TVL games for Modesto Christian (1-4-1 TVL).
Riverbank rallied to a 3-0 lead at the half, but suddenly lost control over a stretch of 20 minutes where Modesto Christian dominated play and tied the game. The Crusaders took a 5-4 lead into the final 10 minutes, but Riverbank’s Daeyshya Battle broke past MC defenders to tie the game. Modesto Christian responded with repeated drives to the Bruin goal and capitalized on their final attempt when a Bruin defender sent an opposing forward crashing to the grass.
Battle led Riverbank with three scores while Natalia Villapudua and Andrea Harvey each scored one. Villapudua netted two assists while Harvey, Allisenda Villapudua, and Alicia Gonzales made passes resulting in a score. Lopez stopped 12 shots that came within the goal frame.
Riverbank (0-12) was desperate for a first win of the season after a difficult preseason schedule gave way to narrow defeats in league play. The Lady Bruins surrendered a 3-0 victory to visiting Hughson on March 27 and couldn’t right the ship a day later.
The team has now fallen in the final moments of three league contests.
“Instead of finishing these teams off, we are having the mentality to watch them beat us to the ball,” Gonzales said. “It comes from inexperience.
“If we can pull together and play a whole game some good things will happen.”