Falcons’ flurry too much for Hillgals

Colfax scores three goals in less than five minutes, tops Placer at Le Febvre
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Placer High soccer coach Steve Cook wishes he could take an eraser to five minutes of Friday night’s duel with Colfax at Le Febvre Stadium. Other than the Falcons’ brief barrage, the Hillgals went toe to toe with the Falcons, whom many are picking to win the Pioneer Valley League title. Colfax posted a 3-0 victory that was a microcosm of its season to this point. There wasn’t a lot happening for about 20 minutes Friday before Kayla Garcia pounced on a loose ball in the penalty box and knocked it in, setting off a three-goal eruption that lasted less than five minutes. Similarly, the Falcons were unable to use their soccer field for most of March. The heavy rain and snow in Colfax left Colfax with no choice but to play five games in a seven-day stretch. So far, so good as the Falcons are 2-0 to start PVL play. “We’ve been jumping for joy since we got on the field,” junior captain Kate Bianchi said. “We’re like a family so to be able to play with each other again, it’s been great. We’re confident we can make a run for the league title. It’s a wonderful group of girls.” Garcia wasn’t finished after her initial strike. Moments later she found some space on a corner kick and cracked a header toward the Placer goal. A Hillgal defender got a foot on the ball, but it deflected off of goalkeeper Alyssa Morford back into the goal. Senior Sarah Loomis landed the knockout punch for Colfax with a beautiful volley from 25 yards out that snuck under the crossbar to make it 3-0. Bianchi threatened the Placer net throughout the match with her free kicks, one of which led to Garcia’s first goal. She also anchored the Falcon defense, which has given up just one goal in three PVL games. While Colfax is surging, Placer is struggling at 0-3 in PVL play. Injuries have forced coach Steve Cook to tinker with his lineup and tested the team’s depth. Among those injured is starting goalkeeper Dakota Ford, who is out with a broken thumb. “We know they have a lot of injuries right now,” Falcons’ coach Lefty Wilkes said of Placer. “In my 18 years here, it’s always been a good match with Placer. When they come to our place it could be a totally different game.” Placer’s offense was held in check for much of the match, though Laura Nash nearly found the net with a free kick in the second half. The Hillgals’ defense was excellent in the second half as Celeste Havener, Caitlin Letcher and Karly Kenworthy led the way in front of Morford. The Falcons’ wild week continues Monday with a 7 p.m. game at Foothill. Wilkes is hoping her squad can survive playing the first half of league in one week before settling in for the season’s home stretch. The veteran coach hadn’t planned on returning to the sidelines, but when she found out former coaches Steve Robinson and Bob Capuchino were not available this spring, she stepped in. “I didn’t want to leave them with two new coaches this year,” Wilkes said. “I care about them too much. It’s a great group of girls and they’re just a really strong team. There’s not a weak link.”