LATHROP — Practice makes perfect.
Earlier in her career, Sierra junior Carrie Ortega had a fear of the ball when it came to heading in a corner kick. She has overcome that fear and headed one in perfectly Monday night off of a corner kick by Raelene Mendieta.
She scored another from a Mendieta assist to help lead the Timberwolves to a 6-0 Valley Oak League soccer win over Lathrop at Bennie Gatto Field.
“When I was growing up I was always afraid of the ball on corner kicks,” Ortega said. “I was terrified. I had a coach my JV year that kept me and two other girls after practice and kicked the ball at our faces to get us to learn not to be afraid of the ball.
“Rae (Mendieta) had such perfect placement on the corner kick tonight and I had the opportunity and got lucky.”
Mendieta did more damage than just assists – she had two goals of her own. She took a long pass from Briana Oseguera late in the first half to put Sierra (1-4 VOL, 4-10-1) 4-0 and capped the night’s scoring in the final two minutes with an assist from M.J. Kaur.
“On the assists I knew I didn’t have the shots so I just played them off,” Mendieta said. “On the first goal I was just hoping I was going to get there and finish it and on my second one she (Kaur) played it back. I knew I could hit it back from behind the 18 and it worked out.”
The other two Timberwolves goals came when Kaur kicked one in unassisted and Kaleigh Doyle dribbled from midfield close to the goal where she passed to Jasmine Loaiza who netted it 30 minutes into the first half.
“It’s good to get our three points here,” Pires said. “It has been rough up until now but I am glad our girls stepped it up and shut them down.”
Spartans coach Gabe Padilla was pleased to get some more numbers back into his roster.
“I thought this was a positive game for us,” Padilla said. “We have had only 13 girls suited up for the entire season — or for league at least — and we got one or two back from college trips or injuries.
“Our goalie Cassandra Flores was fantastic as was sweeper Azalea Robles and Kim Vega at right fullback.”
Lathrop (0-5, 4-11-1) held Sierra to just one goal for most of the second half until Mendieta’s late goal.
“We played much better in the second half than the first half,” Padilla said. “We had some mental lapses and they knew that the 4-0 lead at halftime should have been lower so they cleaned it up in the second half. We had our chances but they just missed.”
Sierra 10, Lathrop 0
Daisy Valencia, Ariana Soto and Jennifer Ochoa each had two goals for the Timberwolves.
Hailey Tavares, Jennifer Rivera, Bryanna Gonzalez and Jenna Rosendin all had one goal apiece for Sierra.