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Rocklin records its third straight league tie

Great defense, no offense
By: Amanda Calzada Placer Herald Correspondent
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Under a twilight sky, Rocklin High’s varsity girls soccer team faced the Roseville High Tigers for a nail-biting 0-0 game, March 30. The game opened up with Roseville’s numerous attempts on goal, which nearly all rolled into Thunder goalkeeper, Joie Camalo’s, hands. Camalo saved Roseville’s two over-the-head throw-in’s. The Thunders’ tight defense outside and inside the goal box did not allow the Tigers to put any goals into the net, even when Roseville attempted to dribble over Camalo in the first half. During the first half, Rocklin made a total of seven substitutions. Coach Paul Morrison called for the Thunder to not have any “square passes” open as the first half closed. Heading into the second half, forward Lydia Summers said, “Our mentality is to focus and give it everything we have. We have to play to win, not just play to not lose. Our mentality is to push up with the offense and attack the goal because scoring seems to be our issue.” Roseville opened the second half with two attempts at goal, which were blocked by Camalo’s sweep kick. Both teams entered the game aggressively, with two players battling to head the ball at the same time. The Cats amped up its defense with high air kicks. Summers, leading the offense, dribbled the ball to the center before Rocklin’s corner kick. A close Roseville shot at 32:58 nearly cost the Thunder the game. Roseville nearly scored again at 24:30, but Rocklin concentrated all of its players in the goal box to block the shot. “There’s so many things running through my mind,” said Camalo. The goalkeeper said rather than processing all of the thoughts when an opponent takes a shot on goal, she simply reacts. Recovering, Roseville tightened their defensive line. Camalo’s performance included numerous saves on goal. Melanie Mabry’s throw-in in the last minutes looked hopeful, but was saved by the Tigers’ goalie. The game was not the first one to end with a score 0-0. Rocklin started league competition with three consecutive 0-0 games. “We’re stopping other teams from scoring, but haven’t been able to put much scoring together since we’ve sustained most of the injuries in our midfield,” said head coach Paul Morrison. Rocklin has six returning starters from last season, mainly in the midfield and offensive positions. Every player in the back four and goal, however, are new. This season’s roster of 18 athletes includes seven returning players and one freshman, Lindsay Erl, who Morrison says “is playing admirably.” Last season, the Thunder held a league standing of 7-2-1. “Strategically-speaking, we have to change a bit when we incur injuries, but our defense has been held together and that will always keep us in game,” said Morrison. Sophomore Laura Purdy has kept a strong defensive line as center defender. The Thunder plans to continue building throughout the season. The team as a whole is young, having only two seniors. Both seniors, Camalo and Emily Huska, are impact-players. Camalo’s stellar performances include a record-breaking number of shut-outs while Huska’s stylizes her performances with toughness and aggression. The younger players are adjusting to the aggressiveness of the SFL league, a generally perceived “challenging” opponent. League opponents like Del Oro, Granite Bay, Woodcreek, and Roseville will be fighting with Rocklin to secure a spot in the top three playoffs. Various players have scored goals this season; lead scorers being Mikayla Clifford and Michelle Tran. Morrison says the young team needs to find out who they are by facing the difficult challenge of uniting as a team since high school soccer brings together many different outside teams, some of which are opponents. “The numbers don’t lie,” said Morrison. “When you look at the strength of our league against almost any other area league, we compete in the toughest around. Learn fast, come together, get mentally and physically tough, and come to play every game. No time to rest if you want to be around during playoffs,” he said.