Benefield: Loss a wakeup call for SRJC women's soccer squad
The Bear Cubs women’s soccer team brought more gusto to their effort in the second half, but it was too little, too late as they dropped their Big 8 Conference home opener 2-0 Friday to the Folsom Lake Falcons.
The loss drops the Bear Cubs to 4-2-1 overall and 0-2 in the Big 8. They lost 2-1 on the road at Cosumnes River on Tuesday.
In addressing the squad after the game, coach Crystal Chaidez was clear — the slide must stop here.
“The turning point has come,” she said. “This cannot be the norm.”
Chaidez said not everyone is playing from the same script — at least as far as work rate goes.
Sophomore captain Morgan Jernigan said the Bear Cubs have the talent — they just need to marry that with consistent effort.
“We have to ask the big question: ‘Why are we here?’” Jernigan, a goalkeeper who prepped at Windsor High, said after the game. “It can’t be just the select few that work hard.”
Folsom Lake was too talented to have the Bear Cubs show up not ready to play.
The Falcons came into the contest 5-0-2 overall but 0-0-1 in conference after tying San Joaquin Delta Tuesday.
The Falcons dominated possession in the first half, scoring 18 minutes into the game when Emily Doty put her right foot on a cross, sending the ball past the outstretched arm of a diving Jernigan. It was Doty’s fourth goal of the season and it came just as Chaidez was urging the Bear Cubs to lock down and not give up easy crosses into the box.
With a little more than seven minutes to play in the first half, the Falcons struck again when they again managed to get off a cross, this time from the foot of Folsom freshman Sarah Scott that found freshman Caroline Guthrie, who made it 2-0.
The slow start was unacceptable, especially in the face of Folsom’s pace of play, according to defender Ana Hernandez, a sophomore from Analy High.
“It shouldn’t have taken us to the second half to realize it. That should never happen,” she said. “We need the work rate right off the bat.”
At halftime, Chaidez singled out the effort of sophomore defenders Ryan Hernandez from Analy and Kese McQuillen, who prepped at Ukiah High, as well as forward and Casa Grande alum Gizela Carranza — but called on the rest of the squad to step up.
“(They) were playing unreal and lights out and putting it all out there and I said, ‘What are you guys offering these girls and these teammates that are putting it all out there?’” she said.
But Chaidez said she saw that disjointed effort sneaking into practices of late. After the loss to Cosumnes and worried that perhaps her message about the pressures that Big 8 play brings wasn’t getting through, Chaidez turned to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. She pulled up one of his quotes on her phone at a midweek practice.
“‘Football is not how you handle the good situations, it’s how you handle the bad ones,’” she said. “We are obviously in a bad situation of losing two games in our first week, so it’s going to test us; it’s going to show a lot about our character and show really who we are as a team, what the rest of our weeks of conference are going to look like for us.”