Aryana Jones planted five long-range bombs into the back of the net for host Lathrop, which had shut out Grace Davis most of the evening Wednesday on the way to a 5-3 Western Athletic Conference win at Bennie Gatto Field.
“She (Jones) has the potential to lead this league,” Lathrop coach Jose Montes said. “She plays like a wing instead of a forward. Once she understands her role, watch out.
“She has amazing power from the outside and her accuracy is getting better, but I want her to be more aggressive toward the middle. Those are the growing pains of converting a wing to a forward.”
After her first two solo shots from the deep wing, Jones made her way to the middle of the box just outside the 18 when Kayla DeAnda fed Jones, who spun around her defender for her third goal from outside the box in the first 15 minutes.
“During practice from my (defensive mid) position we are trying to feed those balls and sometimes they don’t go through,” DeAnda said.
“But when you look for her and she is there it is like that perfect moment and when she has that touch that is golden.”
Jones added two more goals in the second half — one on a free kick from above the arc and another unassisted long-range rainbow to put Lathrop (1-0 WAC, 2-4 overall) ahead, 5-2.
Unlike shorter goals, which must be shot with force, every one of Jones’ goals had an arcing touch to them, finding their way between the out-stretched arms of the Grace Davis goalie and the crossbar.
“That wouldn’t have happened without my teammates,” Jones said. “This is a whole new team from last year and we are learning and bonding together.
“I practice those long shots on my own time with my dad.”
Grace Davis (0-1, 0-5-1) was held scoreless until midway through the second half when Miriam Lina Gonzalez got her team on the board making the score 3-1. After that, Grace Davis and Jones swapped goals with Paola Franco and Karysa Le Tourneaux added the other two Grace Davis goals.
Grace Davis won the junior varsity game 4-0.