On Friday, PCC’s women’s soccer team was unstoppable against ECC Compton’s Tartars, who endured a stinging 9-1 defeat even though the Lancers were down four starting players due to injuries.
With seven goals scored by the Lancers in the second half to the Tartars one, the game was a chance for the new starters to shine through and show their skills even though there were no subs available to offer a reprieve to the players.
“I’m not really worried,” said Lancer forward Ani Hemelians about having four subs out. “Each and everyone on the field is very talented and very good. Our subs are amazing.”
Hemelians immediately took two shots on goal against the Tartars in the first half but was putting them too high as they sailed over the goal.
On a corner kick 25 minutes into the first-half, Lancers midfielder Sandra Ambrosio passed to Lancer defender Talar Boshgezenyan, who scored the first goal with a perfect header into the net.
The Tartars were unable to push the ball past the Lancers defense and the Lancers offense was dominating the first half with a speedy offensive line. Although they attempted several shots on goal, they seemed to keep putting the ball just outside the net.
Lancers defenders Boshgezenyan and Kelly Youseff took their time with control, moving the ball back up-field whenever the Tartars tried to break through. Youseff and Boshgezenyan created an impenetrable wall and cut through the Tartars with ease.
“I was just holding it [defense-line] and when I had the chance, I just wanted to go up and get some points too,” said Boshgezenyan.
Although Lancers goalkeeper Natalie Martin watched over a mostly undisturbed goal box, she did make an incredible save when her defense was still up-field and the Tartars found a chance to take a shot.
After two missed goals, Lancers forward Alexis Acosta battled through the Tartars defense and sank the ball into the net from the 11-yard line, bringing the Lancers to a 2-0 score shortly before half time.
In the second half, the Lancers were a more confident, controlled team, keeping the ball grounded and rarely letting the Tartars touch the ball the rest of the game.
Right away Lancers midfielder Nathalie Feil attempted two goals, one a header caught by the Tartar goalkeeper Laura Rosas Morales. The keeper had no rest as Ambrosio blasted a powerful kick that barely missed the net.
Ambrosio put another power shot up-field from a free kick that Acosta rebounded into the net with her second goal, bringing the Lancers ahead 3-0.
The Lancers offense looked like a track team as they broke towards the Tartars goalkeeper, challenging her at every chance as the Tartars defense was left behind, unable to keep pace with the forwards. Finally, Hemelians and forward Elena Heuze made a brilliant pass play, crossing the ball over to Lancer midfielder Leila Farazdaghi who scored the fourth goal of the game.
In regards to Lancer Coach Rivas choosing a speedy offense this year; “I don’t slow myself down,” said Hemelians. “I just try to be aware.”
The Tartars, after many frustrated plays, were able to get the ball to their forward, Jocelyn Jiminez, on a corner kick as she scored with a header over Martin. That finally gave the previously scoreless Tartars a point, but the Lancers were still far ahead with a 4-1 lead.
As she often does, Ambrosio answered back immediately by sinking the ball into the goal with an outside shot from the 15-yard line. The Lancers were now 5-1 and the Tartars seemed to lose heart.
The Tartars offense began playing rough, but Youseff and Boshgezenyan kept their cool by using their skills to cut through the Tartars like a hot knife through butter and often found themselves playing an offensive style of defense.
Once again, Farazdahghi got through the Tartars defense and scored her second goal with a high cross over on a pass from Heuze, bringing the Lancers far ahead 6-1.
PCC’s offense continued to pelt Morales with shots on goal and draw her out of her box when her defenders were unable to get back in time to protect her.
The Lancers continued to take advantage and again Feil passed to Ambrosio, who scored her third goal with another cross to bring the score to 7-1.
Still drilling the defense, Heuze passed to Hemelians who, after five attempts, finally popped the ball over the goalie into the net to make it 8-1. Heuze now had three assists and the Tartars defense gave up.
Still not through playing until the whistle blows, Acosta attempted another goal that was slapped away by Morales. But Ambrosio, on another rebound, put the ball in for good with three minutes left. The final score was 9-1.
“We had some injuries, we only had 11 players available today,” said Rivas. “I think each one realized they had to step up, focus, and work hard. There’s no one else, it’s just us. Just the 11.”
Rivas said he’s very proud of his players and although they only have an “outside shot” of getting into the playoffs, the key focus is to finish the season strong.