Second half surge carries Thunder past Oakmont

By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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The Rocklin High girls soccer team (5-2-4 SFL) breezed through Oakmont Thursday handing the Vikings (2-4-3) a possibly back-breaking loss in a 3-0 final. Scoreless through 40 minutes, both teams struggled to find a rhythm on the plush open field with a strong wind at times. The grass length and somewhat controlled tempo would have seemed an advantage for Oakmont, but the Thunder broke the tie with three goals in the second half. With three games left to play in league the Vikings aren’t out of the playoff picture, but certainly lost control of the game in the back 40. In the span of nearly 20 minutes the Thunder banged out their final game score. Jessica Santos earned the Thunder the 1-0 lead near the 53rd minute of the contest. On a low cross against a single defender, Savannah Coiner played the assist across the goal to a streaking Santos, who put the finishing touch strong. Within 10 minutes Thunder forward Dana Greenwood added the second goal. Oakmont played with the ball in front of goal and Alexandra Martinez and Greenwood teamed up to poke the ball through. Close to the 70th minute, midfielder Michelle Tran blazed a crafted shot from around the 18-yard line. Her lofty shot was struck with her right foot and drilled into back netting feeding off the wind. With the win Rocklin firmed up their playoff resume holding tough as just one of two teams with two losses in league. “As soon as we scored that first goal it was like a giant weight was lifted off our shoulders,” said Rocklin coach Paul Morrison. “The wind did play a factor and with the grass so thick it’s kind of hard to work with the wind in your face. Second half the wind was with us and I was hoping that once they got used to the thickness of the field we’d be able to apply more pressure. Second half we shut them down pretty well and came at them.” Along with a tie at Nevada Union and an upset win at league-leading Roseville, the Vikings hadn’t lost since dropping a 2-1 decision to Del Oro in the first game of April. They have a makeup game against Granite Bay Friday and then close out against Del Oro and then Woodcreek, hoping to earn a spot into section playoffs. With so many teams to climb over from their current position in a fifth-place tie, the Vikings have a lot of work to do, and they will need help. “In this game we just weren’t taking advantage of their mistakes,” said Oakmont coach Sondra Myles. “We had a few opportunities in the first half with the wind in our back, but Rocklin’s a good squad that played well. The last time we played them they came back on us too. It’s game by game at this point, but I’m telling them it’s so close and anything’s possible if we keep working hard.” The Vikings will host Granite Bay at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Rocklin has just the one game left, and the Thunder are in good position to reach the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs from their current second place position.. Their last game is at 7 p.m. home Tuesday night when Granite Bay (3-3-3) will be the opponent.