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The Lady Aztecs' Daisy Daniel closes in on a Victor Valley player in Friday's game at Barstow High School.

Lady Aztecs soccer gets first win

BARSTOW • The Barstow girls soccer team is no longer looking for its first win.

The Lady Aztecs hosted Victor Valley on a cold, windy day, and edged the Jackrabbits, 3-2, on Friday at Barstow High School.

It was a nice come-from-behind victory for the Lady Aztecs. Like in every other game this year, the opponent scored first, and in this case, scored twice. But the Aztecs recovered from being down by two goals to winning by one.

“We really needed that first goal. We’ve been playing from behind so much, and we were shooting well today,” said head coach Brenda Banks. “To take so many good shots and not convert is very discouraging. The girls hung in and it paid off.”

It didn’t look good in the early going, as the Jackrabbits got on the board only minutes into the first half. They made it a 2-0 game about 20 minutes later, and it was shaping up like this one was going to end up the way the other games had.

But this time, things were different. The Jackrabbits had scored twice, but that was all the home team would allow, as Barstow would go on to kick three unanswered tallies.

Miranda Peralta picked up the first goal, putting her team in the scoring column before the first half was over. With just a couple of minutes left before halftime, Peralta beat the Valley goalie to a loose ball and chipped it past her into the net.

Barstow entered the second half trailing by a goal, but wouldn’t be down long. Just two minutes in, Melissa Courdenas took control of the ball rolling across the goalfront, and reached out and got a foot on it, poking it past the keeper’s reach.

“We’ve been taking our shots, but today we were finally converting,” said coach Banks. “We were taking legitimate shots in the first half that weren’t going in. But we got what we needed. We got a few and got a taste of momentum.”

A few minutes later, the Aztecs’ Lexyss Ceballos put her team ahead for good. A hard shot on a breakaway from about 20 yards out blasted by the Valley keeper, giving Barstow the lead.

But there was lots more game to go at that point. The Aztecs protected that precarious one-goal edge with some tight defense. A key moment came with about three minutes left, and Valley in control in the attack zone. Marissa Ceballos was guarding the player dribbling toward the net, waiting until just the right moment to derail the rush and foil the shot opportunity.

“Marissa played the ball and not the body. She didn’t take any cheap shots, so there were no penalties,” said Banks. “It was a standout play, a game-changer; a smart, heads-up play by a sophomore.”

Barstow keeper Empriss Gardener also made a diving save down the stretch, to preserve the win.

And it was a team-effort win. Because it was such a chilly day, there was a heavier rotation than usual, giving the players some time to warm up on the bench before heading back out.

“Our bench helped a lot. To get everyone some recovery time today was really important,” coach Banks said. “That played a major role.”

It certainly allowed the Aztecs to take their shots, 28 in all. Gardener made five saves.

Barstow is 1-7-0 with the win, while Valley falls to 0-6-1.

“This was a long time coming,” said Banks. “This is a good, solid team and this is the kind of play I expected. Hopefully we’ll build on it.”

The Lady Aztecs have one more game left this year, at Silverado next Thursday.

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