PORTERVILLE – Tie games have been a familiar sight for Reedley girls soccer this season, and its road match against the Porterville Panthers was no different. After 80 minutes of play this past Tuesday, Dec. 12, the Pirates and Panthers had fought to a 1-1 draw.
With that result, the Pirates now stand at 4-3-5 this season. While it was another draw for her team, Reedley head coach Itzecalli Pizano liked how the Pirates played on the road against the Panthers.
“We played really well. We played as a team and our communication was so much better,” Pizano said. “Our effort on and off the ball was really good. We had a couple of players who were playing out of position and they did really well.”
Even with the draw, the Porterville Panthers still hold an impressive record of 7-1-2 this season. The Panthers were coming off a tournament and a game the night before, so Porterville head coach Jacob Rivas believes they played well against Reedley despite the lack of rest.
“They played hard,” Rivas said. “We were beat up and tired, but they hung tough and they played hard, so I’m proud of them.”
In the low-scoring affair, it was the Panthers who struck first. In the first half, Aliyah Ortiz capitalized on a free kick as she knocked the ball into the upper left corner of the net to give Porterville the lead. But that would be the only score of the game for the Panthers as they were shut out the rest of the way. As the Panthers could not break through, Rivas believes their lack of substitutions were the main reason why.
“We had two injuries early in the game so we were kind of limited on what we could mount in our attack,” Rivas said.
The Panthers still had the lead late in the second half, but the Pirates did not give up. With about 10 minutes left in regulation, Real Morales was able to break through the Porterville defense and kick the game-tying score into the back of the net.
“We didn’t give up knowing that we only had ten minutes left,” Pizano said about the second-half goal. “We told them they had to push through and they got the job done.”
Over the remainder of the night, both teams failed to score as the game ended with a tie. As his team moves forward from this match, Rivas and the Panthers have one goal on their mind.
“We’re going to rest up,” Rivas said. “We’ll take care of some injuries and get the full squad back so we just need to rest.”
With another tie, the Pirates are now 0-1-4 in their last five matches. While they would have loved to have picked up a win, Pizano believes there is plenty to learn from these games as they march further into their season.
“It shows us that we need to put away our early opportunities because we had one at the very beginning of the game that we missed,” Pizano said. “And we’ll just tell the girls don’t give up and play to the whistle.”