If you haven’t been paying attention to the 2021 Islanders girls’ soccer team, it may be time to tune in. The girls in green and white have been on a tear this season, dominating their way to a 7-1-3 record and a 3-0-1 record in Eastern City League play. The team’s combination of talent and focused play has placed them atop the table in the eastern league and landed them at #1 in the Maxpreps.com CIF DIII rankings. With a +21 goal differential and continued crisp defensive play, the Islanders find themselves in the perfect position heading into the stretch run of their season.
The ladies looked to keep things rolling last Wednesday as the team celebrated their senior night on April 28th. Those seniors who were celebrated and honored included: Gracie Gehler, Amelia Hawley, Emily Hunter, Shelby Linde, Ellie Searles, Sydney Slaughter, and Ella Worthy.
With the high stakes and emotion, it’s possible that the Islanders came out a little over-amped as they made a few mental mistakes early, something unusual for a Coronado team that opens games incredibly focused. In the first 5 minutes of the game, La Jolla was driving the tempo of the game, as they had 2 early corner kick opportunities. But the Islander defense wouldn’t budge as they cleared both corner attempts from the Vikings.
The Islander’s first strong attack on offense came with 25:24 left in the first half as after a shot on goal by #20 Riley McGrath, the Islanders had a corner kick of their own, but despite a strong cross off the left foot of Ella Worthy, the Vikings cleared it. This was the best that the Coronado offense had in the first half. As for much of that first half, the Islander’s backline and defense stayed busy with constant attacks and pressure from the La Jolla offense. Still locked into a 0-0 tie with 22 minutes left in the first, it looked as if the Vikings would take a 1-0 lead as after a save by the Coronado keeper, the Vikings had the ball fall at their feet and took a shot at the left post. Fortunately for Coronado, Amelia Hawley made a defensive play with a great body save, keeping the game at 0-0 and stifling the Viking’s attack yet again. The Vikings had another 2 solid looks in the first half, but again nothing came off them, keeping it a 0-0 game heading into halftime.
Coronado came out a much more sound team in the second half, showing quickly. At just 3 minutes in the second half, a strong run down the right-wing by No. 6 Xiomara McKenna, the Islanders were awarded a corner kick, just their 3rd of the night. Although no goal came of it, it was clear that it enlisted some much-needed confidence into the Islanders’ attack. And that newfound confidence could easily be seen when just 3 minutes later, following yet another stop by the Coronado defense center back, Emily Hunter found No. 6 McKenna on an outlet pass. McKenna beat her defender down the right sideline and sent in a beautiful pass to No. 20 McGrath, who sent the ball into the goal off her right foot and made it a 1-0 Coronado lead with 30:11 left to play in the 2nd half.
The Vikings did their best to draw even, but the play of the Coronado backline was simply relentless. Despite the 8 total corner kicks for La Jolla, none of them came close to finding the back of the net, thanks in large part to No. 12 Hawley and No. 15 Zoe Searles, the two Islander center backs, who were constantly putting the bash on Viking attacks. The Islanders rode their strong defense to the 1-0 win giving the seven senior Islanders a great send-off for the final regular-season home game.
And for good measure, the Islanders tackled another win as they defeated league opponent Serra 3-2 on Friday, April 30. Coronado’s record now sits at 9-1-3 in league play and, more importantly, 5-0-1 in Eastern City League play, putting Coronado in prime position to be the #1 seed in the upcoming CIF DIII Playoffs.
With two more league wins in their pocket, the Islanders will now turn their attention to this Friday’s match-up vs. Patrick Henry High School.