HANFORD — Hanford started Friday night fast and they ended even faster.
Hanford (9-1-3, 2-1 WYL) had four different players score and used a well-balanced second-half attack to swipe a 4-0 shutout over crosstown rival Hanford West. In the process, they also earned their eighth shutout win of the season.
It was all Bullpups on Friday night as they left no question as to who was the big dog on the block.
“It’s a rival game, but like I told our girls, every single [West Yosemite League] game that we play is a rival game,” Dias said. “Yah it’s a crosstown rival, two teams in the same town … but a victory’s always good no matter what.”
The Bullpups outshot the Huskies 25-2 and 11-2 on shots on goal. They owned them on corner kicks 9-0 and used a tough back line to impose their will on the ball.
They controlled every aspect of the game, but the biggest victory for Dias was the shutout. They’ve now outscored their opponents 41-4 on the season.
“My team’s communication really helped when we communicate on and off the ball,” Hanford’s Madison Stewart said. “It helps a lot when we coach each other and help improvise.”
Leading 1-0 at halftime, thanks to Danae Hill’s header in the 9th minute, Hanford coach DelRay Dias gave his team some words of encouragement.
“I hate to say it, but I kind of just lit a fire at halftime on them,” Dias said. “I said, ‘We’re up 1-0 we should be up five … Some of you guys are just not playing. If you don’t want to play, I’ll sub you.’”
The message was received loud and clear.
Hanford controlled 90 percent of possession and it was a miracle any time Hanford West could take more than a couple touches without being overwhelmed by the Bullpups defense.
Two minutes in, Ashlyn Isenberg got down the line and put a great cross on the ball to Stewart. Stewart’s foot took a touch and put the ball over the net. It wouldn’t be her last chance.
In the 43rd minute, Isabella Schroder made a great run and found a loose ball in the penalty area near the end line and crossed it to Galilea Jimenez who put a spectacular one-timer on the ball for the goal and 2-0 lead.
Hanford would have scoring chances in the 46th and 49th minutes, but both were stopped by Hanford West’s goalkeeper.
Skyler Martinez took eight of the nine corner kicks for Hanford on the night and put every single one on the money. They all found the penalty area or desired target for each set play.
“I’m really small so I’d rather be taking the corners than having to shoot from them,” Martinez said. “You just got to know where to place it and once you know where to place it, it’s just there every single time.”
Martinez’s corner in the 57th minute found the front of the goal where Baylee Dias put in the header for a 3-0 lead. It was Dias fifth goal of the year and Martinez’s second assist on the night after assisting Hill in the first half also off a corner.
Stewart finally nabbed her own goal in the 67th minute. Cianna Rodriguez dumped the ball to Stewart about 22 yards out from the goal. She took it almost like a free kick and lobbed it perfectly into the corner for the final goal of the game.
“I was tying my shoe actually, I was on the ground,” Stewart said. “I got back up, Cianna passed me the ball and I saw my open shot so I just took it.”
She added that it felt sweet since she had a couple of near-misses throughout the game and that during warmups her shots were hitting the crossbar.
For Hanford West, things couldn’t have gone any worse. A home game that never saw any real scoring chances and now dropping to 0-3 in the WYL in a tie for last with Mt. Whitney.
“Nothing worked for our team tonight,” Hanford West coach Mike Salyer said. “These league games are important and these crosstown games are what they should be playing for. These are the biggest games of the year and we didn’t come ready.”
Hanford West (6-9, 0-3 WYL) will actually travel on the road to face Mt. Whitney today at 6 p.m.
Bella Hopkins beat the Hanford defense down the line in the 21st minute and sent a cross into the penalty area, which resulted in a weak shot that was easily saved.
Their second shot on goal followed in the 49th minute off a free kick, but Bullpups goalkeeper Hanna Murrieta used her sure hands to catch the ball.
Hanford has a bye today, but gets right back to work on Thursday against Mt. Whitney at 6 p.m.