Turlock left-wing Frankie-Marie Ronveaux was simply doing what she’d been taught since she started playing soccer at 4 years old.
“You always have to follow through,” said Ronveaux, a freshman, and sister of senior Grace Ronveaux. “That’s what we’ve been taught since we were little. I saw the goalie dive and make a beautiful save, and the goal was open. So, I had to finish it.”
Ronveaux got a juicy carom off a shot by sophomore Isis Cosio and banged it in for the game’s only goal, propelling the visiting Bulldogs to a 1-0 victory over Pitman on Friday.
The city rivals entered the Central California Athletic League showdown with matching 1-0 records — the only two CCAL teams without a league loss. Turlock improves to 5-2-2 overall, while Pitman dips to 6-5.
The Pride frustrated the Bulldogs for much of the second half, keeping the ball in their opponents’ end most of the time.
“I think it’s really hard to play the kind of soccer we play when you’re constantly having to clear the ball out of your back line,” said THS coach Nicole Lonergan, whose team has now won five consecutive games dating back to Dec. 10. “It was very clear from the start their game plan was to man-mark Jenna (Dean) and double-team our other forward (Cosio or junior Cylee Cowell). And then once they got the ball, they were just launching it into our half. So, it was really hard to settle the ball down and play with the ball at our feet, which is how we play through the middle. When we had the ball at our feet and when we were playing our game, it was very clear that we were playing around them. I think that’s how our goal opportunity came.”
Dean, who led the CCAL in scoring last year with 29 goals and has signed to play collegiately at Sonoma State, was held in check for much of the contest.
Dean had a chance to put the Bulldogs ahead late in the first half with a direct kick from just outside the penalty area, but her attempt was slightly off the mark.
In the 70th minute, Cowell got the ball slipped to her along the right sideline and found Cosio inside the box with a right-footed cross.
“I had already envisioned where the goal was and where the goalie was,” said Cosio. “So, I turned — it was really fast — and I just shot.”
Pitman goalie Saryna Jaime made a nice stop on Cosio’s left-footed attempt, but she couldn’t corral the rebound.
Ronveaux, a natural left-footer, was in an awkward stance when the ball bounced her way, but she got enough on it to get it past the keeper.
“You take the momentum of your body,” said Ronveaux. “But I was on my toes, shaking, going, “Pleeease!”
Five minutes later, Pitman appeared to tie the contest, but the goal by junior Valeria Arroyo was nullified by an offside infraction.
“I didn’t have the angle to see, but I didn’t think it was (offside),” said Pitman coach Annabel Rangel.
Still, the goal seemed to give the Pride life.
With a minute remaining in stoppage time, Pitman set up for a corner kick and had several opportunities, with about six players touching the ball before Turlock cleared.
“All in the box,” said Rangel of the six touches. “Unfortunately, it just didn’t go our way. We couldn’t bring it down and it was kind of bobbling it up in the air. But we had our chances.”
The Bulldogs will see action again on Wednesday when they host Downey in a 3:30 p.m. contest, while the Pride will travel Wednesday to take on Enochs (Modesto) at 3:30.
Turlock and Pitman’s CCAL rematch will come Feb. 1 at Joe Debely Stadium.