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Grizzlies shoot for GEL title

By: Cody Hess, Journal Sports Correspondent
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GARDEN VALLEY — Ask the members of Golden Sierra High’s girls soccer squad what they’re working toward this season, and you’re bound to hear the same reply multiple times. In addition to finally securing an outright league championship 10 years in the making, it really all comes down to beating longtime foe Capital Christian and securing the top spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Golden Sierra and Capital Christian are both 10-0-1 in the Golden Empire League. The teams played to a 3-3 tie in Garden Valley on April 10, and will face off again this afternoon in Sacramento with the league title on the line. “It’s been a very positive season, and I’m very impressed with the caliber of girls this year,” first-year head coach David Gleason said. “I foresee a great opportunity to win league outright. These girls have the capability.” Under the expert guidance of Gleason and revered assistant coach Brad Mason, who led Golden Sierra to success during its first four seasons, the Grizzlies have kept pace with the Cougars in dominating the league this season Key returnees this year include senior scoring dynamo Helen See, who led the GEL in scoring last year and currently leads the league with 27 goals. Also making waves on offense is junior forward Makenzie Gleason, with 22 assists and 20 goals this season. Sophomore Alexxa McComb, who received all-league acclaim last year as a freshman, also returns to the field as a consistent defensive force who, according to Gleason, “controls like a quarterback.” “Our offense is extremely fast, and our defense is extremely strong,” McComb said. “The whole team is good.” Though the team is primarily composed of veterans, new additions to the arsenal, including senior Sabrina Fadel and junior Rebecca Mason, Sara Stiles and Mariah Thomas. As the crucial league-ending showdown with Capital has approached, Gleason has placed extra emphasis on the mantra, “Good passing creates great opportunities.” “We’re constantly working on passing in practice, and our game in that respect will definitely be a big factor in our game against Capital,” Gleason said. Gleason is convinced the Grizzlies will rise above any onslaught Capital brings to put a glorious cap on the season. “This year’s team is the best chance (Golden Sierra) has ever had to be outright champions,” Gleason said. “The girls all have very good soccer skills, good attitudes towards playing. They’re not prima donnas; they’re team people, and that’s what puts them up at a higher level.”