Whitney gores Matadors 7-0 to tighten league race

‘Cats back on winning pace
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Whitney High’s soccer team began the Capital Athletic League race undefeated in preseason but lost three of its first four matches. However, since then the Wildcats have won three straight.

Scoring 15 points in their last three outings, Whitney has shut out its last three opponents – Cordova 6-0, Antelope 2-0 and Friday Mira Loma 7-0.

Heading into the teeth of the CAL, the ‘Cats appear to be hitting on all cylinders. Where the maroon-and-gold could only score one goal against the Matadors at Mira Loma, the club virtually scored at will on their home turf.

Junior forward Aliyah Utush scored four goals in the contest and had an assist on two of the others. Also scoring were Tara Armstrong, MiKayla English and Meagan Haight.

“We actually had a lot of players out with injury, so we’ve been playing with 11 people for the last couple of weeks,” Utush said of how the return of several players has helped “So now that we’re finally getting our team back, we’re finally beginning to score more.”

The ‘Cats took 27 shots on goal and seven were saved by the Matadors’ goalkeeper. That translates to a shooting percentage of 35 percent hitting the mark; a vast improvement over Whitney’s first performance against Mira Loma.

Whitney head coach Ana Jones echoed Utush’s sentiment that getting her team healthy has made all the difference. In the Wildcats’ first meeting with Mira Loma, Whitney won 1-0 after taking over 20 shots on goal.

“We are now playing together; the subs have stepped up, the girls that were hurt are coming back and it’s like they want it now,” Jones said. “We wanted to send a message that we’re coming back. Look out for us.”

The defense has been equally as superb allowing just three goals in their last four games. Jones was able to put in goalkeeper Molly McConnell for the final 40 minutes. McConnell has been sidelined with an injury but was able to successfully defend the Wildcats’ goal in spite of having to wear a massive leg brace.

“We are really good this year,” said Haight, who plays primarily defense. “I feel like we can go to playoffs.”

Whitney must now travel to Rio Americano April 24 and return for a key match against El Camino April 26. The Wildcats final game is at Cordova May 1.

Jones feels winning two of their last three games should put the ‘Cats into the playoffs.

CAL – Rio Americano (6-0-0), Whitney (4-3-0), El Camino (3-2-1), Antelope (3-2-1), Mira Loma (1-5-0), Cordova (1-5-0).