KINGSBURG - In a rivalry game filled with multiple yellow card violations and chippiness, the Kingsburg Vikings remained unbeaten in Central Sequoia League play after a 2-0 shutout victory over the Selma Bears on Jan. 23.
It was game one of a doubleheader with the boys teams playing in the nightcap. It was also a contest postponed from Jan. 16 due to poor field conditions from recent rainy weather.
Coming into the game, Kingsburg head coach Scott Hodges said defeating Selma wouldn’t be an easy task.
“It’s a tough team, they’re very physical,” Hodges said about Selma. “I thought as the game went on, we started to match their physicality. It’s tough to get league wins. League games are tough, everyone is bringing their A game for league games. So I was very proud that we battled the whole 80 minutes.”
Selma head coach Luis Zamora said his team executed its game plan, but some mistakes allowed the Vikings to score.
“I think we worked our butts off,” Zamora said. “We had a game plan, we sticked with it, we switch off a little bit on that first goal, in the second goal, it was just unlucky with a handball. We didn’t get a lucky break.”
“I’m proud of the girls, they came out here and they stuck to the game plan. We knew what we were going to do. We knew the style of play that they wanted to play and the way that they play. We tried our best to take that away and for the most part I think that we did.”
Kingsburg got on the board in the 11th minute with a goal from Marissa Montelongo, which was her 26th score of the season. Montelongo capitalized on a wide open shot down the middle after Bears goalkeeper Brianna Portillo got out of position while defending the net.
Montelongo scored two other times in the first half, once prior and once after her goal, but both scores were nullified due to offside calls. During the first half, Montelongo came out of the game in the 14th minute due to an undisclosed injury after making contact with an opposing player. She would come back to the game 20 minutes later.
After a 1-0 lead at halftime, the Vikings extended its lead to two goals after Shelby Reed scored on a penalty kick in the 42nd minute. The penalty kick occurred after the Bears were called for a handball violation in the penalty box.
“They had a great game plan to play against us,” Hodges said. “They obviously know us well, we play against them twice every year...they have very fast physical defenders in the back and they played us really well. We created some good opportunities and we were able to execute on those few opportunities.”
Selma forward Leslie Figueroa scored late in the second half, but the goal was voided due to an offsides call.
Currently, Kingsburg stands at 15-4-1 overall and is atop of the CSL standings at 8-0. Exeter is currently in second place with a 7-1 CSL record. The CSL could be decided in a matchup between the Vikings and Monarchs on Friday.
As for Selma, the Bears are 9-6-1 overall and 4-5 in CSL play. Before the rivalry game, Selma won three-straight league games while the Vikings didn’t allowed a CSL opponent to score against them.
Currently, Kingsburg has outscored league opponents 36-0 this season.
A day after playing the Vikings, the Bears held its senior night against Hanford West at Washington Union’s John Ventura Stadium.
Figueroa and Mya Rosas scored goals in Selma’s 2-0 win over the Huskies. It was the Bears’ fourth win in five games.
“When we started league, we had that tough loss in the beginning, a close 3-2 game to CVC [on Dec. 11],” Zamora said. “I think that kind of deflated us and took that confidence we gained in the preseason. I think the girls just found a bit of a heart and some work ethic and they’re starting to play as a team again and getting that confidence back that we started with.”
Kingsburg’s quest for a third-straight CSL title continues tonight in a home game against Central Valley Christian at 6 p.m. After, the Vikings will play on the road against Exeter on Friday and will host Selma again for its senior night on Feb. 5.
Before the Bears head back to Kingsburg for the season finale, Selma will play on the road against Immanuel tonight at 6 p.m. Selma defeated Immanuel 4-1 for its first league win of the season on Jan. 10.