HANFORD — After 100 minutes of play, Sierra Pacific was clearly the better team.
The score said otherwise.
A 2-2 draw was the result of the Golden Bears’ first East Sequoia League match of the season against Woodlake.
“A tie is not ideal, but a tie is better than a loss,” Sierra Pacific coach Christa Smith said. “We get to play them again and so we know what to work on.”
At times, everything was perfect — touches, possession and through balls. In a very few moments, everything went wrong.
Sierra Pacific (6-5-4, 0-0-1 ESL) gave up a goal just one minute into the second half on a mistake. A ball was misplayed in the box, which resulted in an own goal and a 1-1 game.
The tie game was frustrating in the sense that the Golden Bears should have been leading by at least three goals or more.
“There was just some defensive mistakes that they capitalized on,” Smith said. “We had 10 times the amount of shots on goal that they had … it was a couple lucky mistakes that they were able to put one in the goal.”
By halftime, Sierra Pacific had 13 shots, nine shots on goal and complete control of the game. They owned the midfield and were able to play the ball wide and move down the line like a hot knife through butter.
Woodlake had not generated a single shot and looked completely lost on offense. Golden Bear defenders Ashlyn Martinez and Kaitlin Thayer were superb in holding a solid backline. The duo didn’t let anything get by in the first half.
Sierra Pacific sophomore Sadie Ronquillo — albeit small — was a huge force on the field. She used her footwork to get by defenders and found a cross in the seventh minute.
Emma Martella put a great touch on the ball, but it sailed into the goalkeeper’s hands. Olivia Fagundes was another force on Tuesday as all she did was put the ball toward the net.
Fagundes, a freshman, had four shots in the first, including one on goal and continued to find space at the edge of the penalty area.
Woodlake punted the ball and it was rinse and repeat from there for Sierra Pacific’s offense. The efforts paid off in the 26th minute when Ronquillo crossed a ball that went through all of Woodlake’s defenders.
Martella trailed the play and found the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box. One touch and a shot was all that was needed for the 1-0 lead.
“I just got my left foot and hit it in the top,” Martella said. “When I hit it, I knew it was a good hit.”
Now tied at one in the second half, things had changed. Woodlake played with a little more bounce in their step and a renewed energy.
Still, it was all Sierra Pacific. Their pressure up front made it hard for Woodlake to find any rhythm and led to turnovers, which Sierra Pacific pushed toward the goal.
“The girls are getting to know each other and working really well passing and communicating,” Smith said. “Offensively, we are starting to jive.”
The Golden Bears regained the lead in the 53rd minute when Woodlake was called for a hand ball about 35 yards out from the goal. Macy Lemos put the free kick perfectly to Kayla Sizemore who had two defenders draped on her, but was able to get her shot off for the goal.
Woodlake would not be outdone as they continued to press and were rewarded its first corner kick of the match. They took full advantage of it by putting it in the net to tie the game at two.
So overtime it was.
Neither team had a good scoring chance in the first 10-minute period. Sierra Pacific had a corner in the 86th minute, but the goalkeeper made the easy catch.
The second 10-minute saw Ronquillo put a good cross toward the box. The ball looked like it could prove the game-winner, but it was sent wide.
No goal would be scored and the referee blew the final whistle.
“[Woodlake] was a good team,” Martella said. “I think if we pushed a little harder we could have beat them.”
Sierra Pacific finished with 27 shots, 13 shots on goal and seven corner kicks. They dominated every statistic imaginable except for the most important one — the scoreboard.
Woodlake was limited to three shots, one shot on goal and two corners. The extent of their offense was not much, but enough to pull out an important tie.
The Golden Bears will get another chance to pick up their first ESL win today at 6 p.m. when they take on Corcoran (5-10-4, 0-1 ESL) on the road.