GOSHEN — Refusing to look past an opponent it had beaten handily during the regular season, Goshen enjoyed a record-extending performance Tuesday,
In the process, the Redskins got one step closer to what they hope is a repeat championship.
Goshen (13-3-1) blanked Northern Lakes Conference foe Memorial 5-0 in the first match of the five-team Class 2A Goshen Sectional girls soccer tournament. Thursday’s semifinals will pit Central against Concord at 5 p.m., followed by Goshen against Northridge around 7. The two winners will meet in the championship match at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“We weren’t taking Memorial for granted,” said Redskins coach Dan Graber, whose team topped the Crimson Chargers 6-0 back on Aug. 14. “They are very much-improved during the season.”
Indeed, the Crimson Chargers (6-10-1) wound up doubling their win total of 2011 and did not finish in the bottom of the NLC standings.
Relying on veteran squad, quality depth and a stingy defense, Goshen limited Memorial’s offensive opportunities while making things happen with its many chances.
“We have eight seniors on the roster,” said Graber. “They really want this.”
“This” being a defense of the sectional title.
While preparing to go against a Northridge defense that did not allow a single goal during NLC play, Goshen posted its school-record 12th shutout.
“Our defense plays as a unit,” said Graber of a rotating group that features five seniors in sweeper Janeth Vela, stopper Karina Flores and backs Jennifer Arellano, Courtney Wengerd and Rachel Christner in front of the goalkeeper (either freshman Alyssa Hershberger or sophomore Yadira Cabrales).
Midfielders Gaby Romo, a senior, and Martha Castillo, a junior, played a part in all but the Redskins’ first goal Tuesday.
Freshman Xenia Isaula, playing in her first varsity match, put Goshen up 1-0 in the 20th minute on a pass from junior Miranda Kay.
Castillo scored in the 25th minute on a “through ball” pass from Romo.
“We feed off (Romo),” said Graber. “She’s probably one of the best players ever to play here at Goshen.”
Romo took a feed from freshmen Jelitza Palomino and netted it in the 41st minute.
In the 45th minute, Palomino turned another Romo “through ball” into her school-record-extending 22nd goal.
Castillo capped the scoring in the 55th minute by dribbling in and past the keeper.
The Chargers were without two key injured players in sophomore center midfielder Maddy Keeslar and sophomore right midfielder Allyson Crane.
Memorial coach Don Knowlton looks at his program and sees a bright future.
“We were going to have a large senior class,” said Knowlton. “And we have a few more travel (team-playing) freshmen coming in.”
2A Goshen Sectional
Goshen 5, Memorial 0
G — Xenia Isaula (Miranda Kay assist) 20th minute.
G — Martha Castillo (Gaby Romo) 25th.
G — Romo (Jelitza Palomino) 41st.
G — Palomino (Romo) 45th.
G — Castillo (unassisted) 55th.
Shots on goal: Goshen 14, Memorial 0. Saves: Goshen — Alyssa Hershberger 0; Memorial — Alyssa Wagner 8. Corners: Goshen 7, Memorial 0.
Records: Goshen 13-3-1, Memorial 6-10-1.
Next: Northridge vs. Goshen, 5 p.m., and Central vs. Concord, 7 p.m., Thursday in Goshen Sectional semifinals.