The first league match of the year was close to perfect for Turlock High varsity girls soccer on Wednesday night when they hosted El Capitan to kick off Central California Conference play.
Four goals were scored by four different players, three goals in the first half and one in the second half, to secure a Bulldogs victory — despite giving up one late in the game — and they went on to capture a 4-1 win.
“El Capitan had some real good players in there but our team was really ready to play, and came out with a lot of energy in the first half,” said Turlock head coach Temo Arteaga. “We came out and moved the ball well, speed of play was fast and we were trying to find more. Leslie (Salazar) did an amazing job for us, first time she played in her position (striker).”
Salazar was just one of the handful of players for Turlock who contributed to the win.
She scored the fourth and final goal for Turlock with 25 minutes left in the game at the 55th minute with an assist from Daisy Martinez inside the goalie’s box after a scuffle and loose ball between multiple defenders and the EC goalkeeper.
The Bulldogs’ scoring run started at the 17-minute mark when Kishauna Mavis broke the tie after working her way inside the penalty area with a Stephanie Zamora assist.
Autumn Glidden followed up with the second score of the game just 10 minutes later to take the two-goal lead at 27 minutes.
Turlock continued to handle EC and push the pace of the game for the remainder of the first half and it led to the third unanswered goal from freshman Kayli Wilson.
Wilson worked her way to the top of the penalty box and drilled a finesse shot to the far upper corner, curving it with perfect precision for the 3-0 lead with five minutes remaining till halftime.
Wilson nearly struck the back of the net for the second time just three minutes after hitting in the team’s third goal, but the score remained intact for the half, up three to nil.
The pace took a more comfortable approach in the opening minutes of the second half, then at the 47th minute, the EC Gauchos struck the back of the net to cut the lead to 3-1.
Salazar nearly scored for Turlock with 27 minutes remaining after a one-on-one opportunity with the goalie, but the shot sailed over the top post.
She found redemption just two minutes later, scoring the fourth and final goal for her team.
“We are still trying to figure out a spot for her but she will play No. 9 for us from now on,” said Arteaga about Salazar playing at the striker position. “We are looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Turlock finished with 10 shots and six shots on goal.
“The score was nice, but it could have been a shutout, and we still made a lot of mistakes offensively, so we still have to work on that,” Arteaga added. “Offensively, we did a better job in preseason but defensively now we are struggling a little bit, so we need to fix that and hopefully before our next game we can fix that.”
Turlock goes to 4-1-4 overall and 1-0 in the CCC.
Turlock will next host Atwater at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.