Miners fall to tough Rio squad | TheUnion.com

Miners fall to tough Rio squad

John HartNevada Union senior Mackenzie Murphy calls out directions to teammates Friday against Rio Americano. The Miners lost the game, but played strong on the field.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Two matches. No goals. Two losses.

And yet, Nevada Union soccer coach Mike Voss could not be happier with the way his young Miner squad has improved. In fact he called this week, with losses to El Camino on Wednesday and Friday to Rio Americano, the best he has seen his team play this season.

What the Miners’ record (5-7-1 overall, 1-7-1 in league) does not show is that although the team is struggling in the Capital Athletic League, it is now playing with enough verve to keep them in matches against teams that on paper should be far superior.

“Sometimes if you have a bunch of losses, the game falls apart,” Voss said after Friday’s 3-0 loss to Rio (9-2-2, 3-1-1). “But this team is getting better and better, and we still have half a season in which we can do some things.”

Friday’s loss to Rio Americano was NU’s second of the season. In their first match, NU was blanked 2-0, and Voss said his team managed only one shot on goal. Friday, NU managed seven attempts on goal in a contest in which the Miners managed to twice put together five-pass runs, the hallmark of a team working well together.

“There are signs of hope,” Voss said. “Our defense keeps us in every game. Courtney Paquin, Nicole Flores and Katy Stork are a good combination up front. Jen Smyrnos might prefer to not start, but she does not stop and finds a way to come up with the ball.”

By the time defensive anchors Mackenzie Murphy and Meredith Ely were moved up on attack, the Raiders had already built their 3-0 lead. Rio’s Alicia Homek and Lindsay Gardner scored off corner kicks from Jennifer Smiley, and Shannon Johns added the final goal on a breakaway effort past NU netminder Jamie Pau.

“Jamie had a great game,” Voss said. “She made 14 saves (Friday), and stopped three 1-on-1 point blank shots against El Camino (a 1-0 loss Wednesday). There we were, down 1-0 at halftime against El Camino, and we were talking like we had a chance. She kept us in that one.”

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