TRACY — The opening minutes looked promising for goalie Callia Morales-Linnell and the Lathrop girls soccer team.
And then Kimball opened the floodgates, chasing the Spartans out of town with a 7-0 victory.
The loss is Lathrop’s ninth in 10 games and overshadowed a gutsy performance by Morales-Linnell, who finished with a match-high 14 saves.
Morales-Linnell played a daring brand of soccer, compensating for a porous Spartan back line by cheating off hers. Forced at times to act like another defender, Morales-Linnell was often beat on 1-on-1s or chip shots by the Jaguars.
Head coach Gabriel Padilla praised his back-up goalie for her chance-taking and guile. She was thrust into the starting lineup because of a late scratch to Lathrop’s starter.
“Callia played spectacular,” said Padilla, his team now 5-12-1 and 1-6 in league play. “She’s my back-up; I need her more on the field than in the box, but she was good as always.”
It took Kimball 15 minutes to crack the Spartans’ defensive line and the lead quickly ballooned to 4-0 by the intermission. The fourth goal, Padilla said, broke his team’s spirits.
All six of the Spartans’ league losses have been by six goals or more.
Notre Dame de Namur-bound forward Yaneli Avila had Lathrop’s best scoring chance.
Avila juked a defender along the right sideline and charged on goal. She ripped a shot to the far post from just beyond the 18-yard box, but the goalie, sitting on the near post, laid out for the fingertip save.
The Spartans had a chance to punch in an open-net goal, but no one crashed at the back door anticipating a rebound.
“Honestly, we had our chances in the first half,” Padilla said.
The match-ups don’t get any easier for the Spartans, who visit defending VOL and section champion East Union on Wednesday.
The Lancers sit atop the league table at 6-0 and have outscored opponents 42-3. Lathrop was defeated by East Union 11-0 in their Valley Oak League opener on March 16.
Ripon 12, Bradshaw Chr. 7
At Modesto, Ripon erupted for seven runs in the sixth inning to blow past Bradshaw Christian in its opener at the Windemuth tournament.
Behind 7-5, the Indians (9-4 overall) came roaring back with a big inning highlighted by Angel Baciocco’s RBI single that plated Jarrod Andrews, who ripped a two-run double earlier.
Offensively, Ripon collected 11 hits. Matt Dedonatis was 3 for 3 and Baciocco went 2 for 2 with two RBI. Trent Murphy drove home a pair while Zach Horwood also went 2 for 2 with an RBI.
In addition, Sammy Souza delivered an RBI double.
Indians hurler C.J. Little earned the win after relieving starting Murphy in the fifth.
Ripon will play Johansen on Wednesday.