Tigers take another shot at section title
It’s hard enough to earn a championship when everything goes your way, but another thing entirely when a little adversity raises its head.
The Roseville High girls soccer team will be on the pitch at Folsom High School at 4 p.m. Saturday in hopes of finishing the job it fell just short of one year ago – the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship. The Tiger team that walked off that same field Wednesday night after dispatching Granite Bay would have every reason to believe it should be favored in the finale against Rocklin.
Unfortunately, it is very possible that there will be changes to the team that opens Saturday’s game with Rocklin, as other school activities threaten to leave the Tigers short-handed in the biggest game of the year.
“The biggest obstacle at this time is a conflict with five players participating on a dance program,” Gutierrez said. “It is part of their grade so they have to be there. I don't know what is going to happen, but (Kelsey) DeCarlo is one of the players.”
DeCarlo is the heart and soul of Roseville’s stellar defensive unit. All of the players make plays, but she is key to keeping the group aggressive.
“DeCarlo's poise and play making gives us confidence,” Gutierrez said after the Granite Bay game. “She hardly ever makes a mistake and knows when to clear or when to bring the ball down to start from the back.”
As far as the game goes, the Tigers were clicking on all cylinders Wednesday night as they controlled the ball for most of the match before scoring three second half goals to earn the chance to face yet another Sierra Foothill League rival in the title tilt. The defense and the midfield made a huge difference, and Gutierrez sees that area as key to his team’s success against the Thunder as well.
“As far as playing Rocklin; they are a really good team loaded with talent and speed,” Gutierrez said. “They are the team that scored the most goals (in the SFL). Our key is going to be to stop their key playmaking player (Savannah Coiner). Again, (midfielders Adriane) Bates and (Amanda) Susbilla are going to be the key.”
One thing Gutierrez can count on is the chemistry that has developed between his two strikers, Amanda Ellsworth and Paige Crouch, and outside midfielder Chanisse Hendrix. That trio hooked up on the three goals in the semifinals.
A key matchup should be Ellsworth against Rocklin’s dynamic leader, Coiner.
“Rocklin has one thing going for them in the matchup,” said Granite Bay coach Chris Roberts. “Savannah Coiner is a great midfielder. She and Ellsworth probably cancel each other out, and I think I would give the edge to Roseville with the rest of the lineup. Off what I saw tonight (Wednesday), I think Roseville’s defense is too solid.”
Of course, all of that could change if the Tigers are not at full strength.
Both Rocklin and Roseville have talent and speed all over the field, and they also share a familiarity with each other’s style. This will be the third meeting of the year between the two teams, as Roseville won the first 3-1 before the two played to a 2-2 draw in the rematch.
The game is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. Saturday at Folsom High School.
Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship game
Saturday, 4 p.m.
Prairie City Stadium, Folsom High School
Roseville vs. Rocklin
Admission - $9 for adults; $5 for students
Parking fee for Folsom High parking lot is $5.