KINGSBURG - After going on a winless streak in their past four games, the Kingsburg Vikings got back on track with back-to-back Central Sequoia League victories last week.
The Vikings started CSL action with a 5-0 win over Immanuel on Dec. 10 and followed that performance with a 2-0 victory over rival Selma on Thursday.
In the rivalry game, Denise Elias and Kira Wilson scored both goals for Kingsburg (6-5-2, 2-0 CSL) in a hard-fought battle with Selma (5-3, 1-1 CSL).
“Every time we play Selma, they are very well coached, they are very well skilled,” Vikings head coach Scott Hodges said. “We knew going in that it’s a league game, it’s a rivalry game, we always know it’s going to be tough when we play them and it was.”
Elias, who has switched from playing as a defensive midfielder to forward, got the Vikings on the board with a goal in the 34th minute. Elias switched positions due to regular starter Marissa Montelongo being out with a knee injury.
“I knew that we had to score,” Elias said. “I had to give 100 %, I got to be there for my team and that’s what I did.”
Montelongo suffered a torn medial meniscus and a sprained anterior intricate ligament in the Vikings’ game against Clovis North on Dec. 3. There is no timetable for Montelongo’s return.
Kingsburg also lost defender Caitlyn Vela for the season with a torn ACL. With the team missing multiple players with lengthy injuries, Hodges said he’s had to make adjustments in formations and slotting some of his players in different positions.
“This group, they just adjust and they don’t blink,” Hodges said. “They just keep working and they just know that it’s the next person’s responsibility to step up and execute to the best of their ability whatever we’re asking of them.”
Holding onto a one goal lead, Wilson added another Vikings score on a play assisted by Blaire Wilson in the 56th minute. Kira Wilson’s shot went over the body of Selma goalkeeper Brianna Portillo and the ball slow rolled into the net.
It was Kira Wilson’s first goal as a varsity player.
“There was a great pass from Blaire,” Wilson said. “It’s all about the system of getting it up the field.”
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In the game against Immanuel, Elias, Shelby Reed, Makayla Brumfield, Heidi Ahumada, and Jolyssa Venegas each netted a score. The Vikings took a 3-0 lead at halftime behind goals from Elias (5’), Reed (9’) and Ahumada (33’).
Venegas and Brumfield scored their goals in the second half. Venegas extended the Vikings lead in the 53rd minute and Brumfield added to the scoreboard in the 68th minute. Ahumada scored with an assist from Elias and Claire Lunde assisted on Brumfield’s goal.
Last season, the Vikings won its third consecutive Central Section Division IV title on top of winning a CSL championship for the third year in a row. For the past three years, the Vikings have dominated the CSL with a 32-0 record. Kingsburg also made a third-straight appearance in the CIF State regional playoffs.
After dominating in Division IV, the Vikings were moved up to Division III this season.
“Our girls are excited and we’re going one game at a time,” Hodges said about moving up divisions. “Just like we had the last couple of years and we’re just going to keep working.”
Hodges said the team’s early season schedule including a matchup with Clovis North was an indicator of preparing for higher level of competition.
“One of the things that I’ve tried to do over the years is schedule those preseason games where we got several [Division I] schools,” Hodges said. “We had an opportunity to play Clovis North, scrimmage against Clovis East, we got Clovis West coming down and Liberty from Bakersfield. We tried to schedule those early games against those bigger schools so that we have an opportunity to experience what that higher level is.”
The Vikings competed at a tournament hosted by Liberty High School in Bakersfield on Friday and Saturday. Kingsburg went winless with a 0-2-1 mark over two days. On the first day of the tournament, the Vikings fell 1-0 to Bakersfield High, a Division II squad. On Saturday, Kingsburg tied with Centennial in a scoreless game and fell 3-0 to Stockdale. Both schools out of Bakersfield are Division I squads.
The Vikings last played CSL opponent Hanford West at home on Tuesday (after press time). Kingsburg will host Fowler on Friday at 6 p.m. and will take on Clovis West at home on Dec. 23 at 1:30 p.m.
Prior to facing the Vikings, Selma started CSL play with a 3-1 win over Central Valley Christian on Dec. 10. Leslie Figueroa scored twice while Monse Flores also had a goal.
The Bears last played on the road against Dinuba on Tuesday (after press time). Selma will play against Bullard on Dec. 30.