Although the 2015 season hasn't brought a winning year for Delhi (2-7-1) and Denair (0-8-2) High's varsity girls’ soccer squads, the two teams have been grinding out in the Southern Athletic League with the top teams in the standings and on Wednesday afternoon both teams met for a showdown.
Essentially the game became the battle for last place in the SAL, with the loser taking the dubious honor after the game concluded.
Delhi’s Cynthia Magana notched the lone goal early in the first half and the Hawks went on to win their second game of the year over the Coyotes, 1-0.
“I think the goal was one of the best plays this season,” Delhi head coach Armando Salazar said. “I am lacking the commitment from the girls, but overall I have good girls. It’s just they are here for fun, they are not here to win a championship and sometimes that makes it tough, but we have definitely been improving as the year goes on.”
It wasn't the most exciting game and it wasn't the most well played, but by the time the final whistle was blown the Hawks were able to take the bragging rights over the Coyotes—for now.
With the help of a steady backline play from Delhi's defense, the Coyotes found it difficult to even strike at the back of the net and when they did the shots were deflected or the shots were just off.
“It did go back and forth and unfortunately in the first half I feel we had numerous opportunities that we missed,” said Denair head coach Paul Oei. “We need to focus more because we moved the ball up to the box and then it somehow started crumbling and they would do the same thing, so finding that final third or last shot would've helped us a lot.”
Delhi scored the game’s lone goal nearing the halfway mark of the first half when Magana pushed through the ball with her left foot, beating the goalkeeper and giving her squad the one-nil lead.
“We have had times when we feel we can run over them, but then they come out and play the best game but I think this year was an even match,” Salazar said. “The girls were actually there to play and it was a good game.”
Denair kept the press on and by the end of the first half they were down a goal but had several set piece opportunities that just couldn't fall.
Delhi held their ground in numerous occasions when Denair threatened with an arsenal of attacks for the remainder of the game.
The Hawks of Delhi had to play with their backs against the wall for most of the game but they still held on to the victory.
“Our girls know it was a pretty even match-up with the number of opportunities in the first half and I told the girls it’s that much of a difference they get one or two chances and decide to put one away,” Oei said. “And that’s the difference between a good team and an ok team. They get their opportunities and put it away.”
The pace was kept up on Denair's side in the opening five minutes of the second half with two quality shots and two set pieces set by the offense.
Denair continued to move the ball well for the duration of the second half, but the pressure could not penetrate Delhi and their backline held on.
Denair will travel to Orestimba next week to take on the Warriors at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Delhi will travel to Ripon Christian to take on the Knights at 4 p.m. Tuesday.