Nine days had passed since the Patterson High varsity girls soccer team had seen any action on the pitch. Their 2-1 loss to Atwater on Dec. 28 gave the squad plenty to think about over the break, but when action resumed on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at Patterson Community Stadium, Patterson avenged that loss with a 2-0 win of their own over the Falcons.
The win improved Patterson to 3-4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Central California Conference.
Atwater dropped to 9-4-1 overall and 1-2 in league.
Sophomore Arionna Imhoff was certainly one reason why. Imhoff was relentless in the first half of play. The sophomore’s perseverance paid off early when she stabbed at a cross still in the air with her right foot, darting the ball to her left that nestled into the back of the goal in the 12th minute.
Imhoff would cause trouble for the Atwater defense a few more times in the first half, but neither yielded a goal.
Nonetheless her goal in the first fifteen minutes meant the Tigers held a 1-0 lead over the visitors at halftime.
The Falcons came out the aggressor in the second half, but stalwart efforts from goalkeeper Viridiana Murillo time after time deflected the Atwater siege, leaving them empty handed for their effort in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
“She’s wonderful back there. She’s playing the way that I know she can. Today she was so good at keeping a clean sheet, which is so important,” head coach Sheila Ludwig said. “Viri is the best keeper in the league in my opinion.”
Imhoff nearly responded with a second goal, but the shot did not find its mark, leaving the Tigers still searching for that second and all-too-important goal.
The Tigers did not rest, and thanks to the effort of sophomore Kelly Alves, Patterson found their second goal with over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Atwater did not have a response, losing to the Tigers 2-0.
Ludwig gave a lot of credit to her midfield for their success as a team on Tuesday.
“My strikers all looked awesome and it’s because of the midfield. They’re setting them up,” Ludwig said. She shared she has been imploring her midfield to be more active and was pleased with their response. “The midfield is supporting the defense and offense like they should.”
She credited senior Yessica Maldonado with aiding in that cause, going on to state that Maldonado had the “best game she’s had in two years.”