The reigning Trans Valley League champions, Hilmar High, continued its winning ways on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory over Calaveras High in the first round of the SJS Division V Playoff Tournament.
Building off their undefeated conference campaign, the Yellowjackets struck the Redskins early in the match with their offensive attack. In the 10th minute, Shelby Costa benefited from some luck and skill as a partially deflected ball bounced into Calaveras’ goal, putting Hilmar up 1-0. The Redskins responded 15 minutes later, however, as a corner kick led to a header which ended in the tying goal.
“They were a very well coached team that handled the ball well,” Hilmar’s Louie Bettencourt said. “I told my team we had to want it more than they did.”
Despite Calaveras’ effort, Hilmar controlled much of the tempo and field position in the first half; the ‘Jackets’ aim, however, left more to be desired. On several occasions Hilmar found itself in scoring position but wide shots coupled with an aggressive Redskin defense kept Hilmar’s scoring to a minimum. At halftime the score remained tied.
“We had the opportunities but it was hard to catch a break,” Bettencourt said.
Hilmar finally found the goal again in the 60th minute when Savannah Gemperle passed the ball to her twin sister, Oliviah Gemperle, who put the ball into the back of the net with her right foot. The Gemperle sisters along with Jaimee Rocha and Janessa Mitchell fended off the Redskins for the remainder of the match, ensuring a round two matchup on Thursday.
“We always find that goal when we need one,” Bettencourt said.
The ‘Jackets will face either Dixon High or Summerville High on Thursday. If Dixon is the opponent Hilmar will be on the road, if it’s Summerville the match will be at home.
“I think we get better after each game,” Bettencourt said. “We got to keep wanting more, so we can push ourselves to succeed.”