Falcons fly to finale
For the second straight season, the Forest Lake Christian girls soccer team is making a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships.
The Falcons secured the trip with a 4-1 drubbing of Le Grand during Thursday’s section semifinals at Forest Lake High School.
This year, however, the Falcons are hoping for a different outcome.
“At sections last year, we lost 1-0 to Modesto Christian in a heartbreaker,” said Falcons senior Shelby Lowe, who opened the scoring Thursday for Forest Lake.
Lowe said that at the beginning of this season she didn’t expect a return trip to the section championship game.
“First of all, we have one more playoff game this year than last year,” Lowe said. “Last year there was only one game before sections. Plus, at the beginning of the year, we were a completely different team.
“I thought we’d just strive to win the league and go from there, but a section championship I never thought was possible. But then we won the league and this became more attainable.”
Lowe opened the scoring off an assist from Katie Shore. Later in the first half, Christa Weisman chipped in a shot off an corner kick from Logan Burke, making the score 2-0 at the half.
Le Grand’s Nancy Medina scored 17 minutes into the second half, but five minutes later the Falcons stretched the lead to two once again. Chelsea McGirr had a penalty kick opportunity and pushed it by the Le Grand keeper.
Right before the game ended, senior Brandy Freeland scored on an assist from Alaura Woody. Freeland’s score came on a nice header past the keeper.
What may be most impressive about the Falcons’ run is that they’re doing it without the services of Central Valley Christian League MVP Jessica Raskin – at least on the field. Raskin has been to every game to cheer on her teammates, but an ankle sprain has kept her out of the action.
“When Jessica got hurt, it meant we had to adjust and that we couldn’t lean on the at least one goal per game she’d been scoring,” FLC coach Alane Burke said. “I told them all that everyone’s a shooter now.”
Burke had to move a number of players around and get them used to playing new positions right as the postseason approached.
“The last two or three games, they’ve really worked together and done that,” Burke said. “I think part of this is that they’re doing it for Jessica as well. She’s not forgotten. She was a big part of helping us get here.”
Another big part of helping the team get this far has been the defense, led by senior Aubrey Stelzner.
During a 5-0-3 CVCL league season, the Falcons gave up just five goals. Take away the only three games in which the Falcons gave up three or more goals and the team gave up just 16 goals in 18 games.
“As a senior this year with tons of freshmen coming in, I really thought we’d be using this as a building year,” Stelzner said. “Then the freshmen came out and started filling in all these holes and scoring all these goals. They started taking on the seniors from the other teams and schooling them.
“Now, instead of thinking we’d just be preparing for the future this year, I’m thinking how unfortunate it is that I can only play with this group for one year.”
Forest Lake now plays against either Capital Christian or Faith Christian in the section championship game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Folsom High School.
To contact Sports Writer Ross Maak, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4244.
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