KINGSBURG - On a rainy night, the top-seeded Kingsburg Vikings kept pouring in the goals against the No. 8 Foothill Trojans in a 5-0 victory in the CIF Central Section Division IV quarterfinals game on Feb. 15.
In a week where multiple soccer playoff games in the Valley got moved up or postponed, the Kingsburg coaching staff made sure its field was ready to be playable for the quarterfinals game.
Playing in the rain wasn’t an issue for the Vikings because the team is used to practicing in such conditions if its practice fields are playable.
“We knew it was going to be like this,” Kingsburg’s Taryn Irigoyen said about the game’s rainy conditions. “We practice in the rain all the time, so we were really prepared. Just like any other game, we go hard.”
“We were ready for the mud and slippery [conditions],” Vikings forward Heidi Ahumada said. “And how to get back up right when we fell and not stay on the ground.”
Kingsburg head coach Scott Hodges said his team had to make slight adjustments playing on a wet field, such as putting more emphasis on their footing and touches.
“We maintained our focus the entire time,” Hodges said. “We kept playing hard and that’s one thing that I appreciated about them. They always work really hard.”
The quarterfinals game was a rematch of last year’s Division IV championship game, which ended in a 1-0 win for the Vikings.
As for the current postseason, the quarterfinals was Kingsburg’s first playoff game in 2019 after receiving a first round bye. It was also the Vikings’ 12th-straight win and the third consecutive season that Kingsburg advanced to the Division IV semifinals.
The Vikings scored four of its five goals in the first half. The girls scored two of its first half goals within the first six minutes of the game.
Marissa Montelongo put Kingsburg up 1-0 in the 5th minute with a shot from the middle that went through the left side of the net.
A minute later, Ahumada scored on a wide open shot to extend the Vikings lead 2-0.
“For the first one, I knew that I had to keep running in so I could get the rebound,” Ahumada said about her first goal. “I knew I needed to be in there for the rebound so that way if it got knocked over, I could get it in.”
Ahumada would score again in the 26th minute after being in position for the goal with an assist from Montelongo. Montelongo was running down the middle of field before passing it to Ahumada, who was coming from the left side of the box.
“For the second one, I had to make a touch and kick it into the corner where the goalie wasn’t,” Ahumada said about her second goal.
Irigoyen scored in the 17th minute after a wide open shot in the right side of the box. Irigoyen seized her opportunity to score after Foothill goalkeeper Alicia Ramirez mishandled the ball after sliding for the save.
Irigoyen said her natural instinct during the play was to “go through the ball.”
Kingsburg’s fifth and final goal came from Emma Price after a shot from the right side of the wing in the 54th minute.
As for the semifinals, the other three teams that were remaining in Division IV were No. 5 Porterville, No. 3 Exeter, and No. 2 Fowler.
The only remaining Division IV team Kingsburg played during the regular season was Exeter, who is a usual Central Sequoia League opponent. The Vikings defeated the Monarchs in two separate CSL games with a combined scored of 3-1.
Both Kingsburg and Exeter have allowed the least amount of goals in the division. The Vikings have allowed the fewest goals in Division IV at 19. The Monarchs are second in fewest goals allowed at 20.
“That’s a testament to the entire team,” Hodges said about his team’s ability to defend. “We defend as a team. So when we talk about us defending, I’m not talking about a certain player or certain number of players, they know it’s the whole team. That starts from the forward all the way back to the goalie.”
Kingsburg last played Porterville on Tuesday (after press time) at home while Exeter played at Fowler in the semifinal round.
As of press time, the Division IV championship game is currently scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m.