For 45 minutes on Friday it looked like Denair High was going to notch its first Southern Athletic League win of the season over rival Delhi High. In the end it wasn’t meant to be, however, as the Lady Hawks (2-1 SAL) mounted a second half comeback for a 3-2 victory to keep the Coyotes (0-3 SAL) out of the winner’s column.
The young ladies of Delhi got out to a slow start as they struggled to find passing lanes and establish rhythm. Those troubles were compounded by a sense of frustration when Talia Cardenas found the back of the net off a corner kick and Alyssa Villa pushed the ball past the Hawk goalie off a rebound to take a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of regulation.
Denair entered halftime with the lead, but Delhi’s head coach Armando Salazar knew his team could rectify the situation.
“This year we’ve been trying to find our rhythm since we’re such a young team,” Salazar said. “I told the girls at halftime that we had the talent and that if we put our passes together we could beat this team.”
The Hawks heeded their coach’s advice and turned to their team leader, Rosemary de Luz, to lift them out of the hole. De Luz scored back to back goals in the 10th and 20th minutes of the second half after trapping a goalie kick from Denair’s Selena Ortiz and knocking in through the goal posts and hitting one in from 18 yards out, respectively.
“Rosemary scoring within the first 10 minutes gave us a boost,” Salazar said. “She’s not afraid to take the long shot because she knows she has the foot.”
Mireiyah Pelayo provided the winning goal with less than 10 minutes left in regulation when she let a shot loose and watched as the ball took a favorable bounce off the uneven field and nestled itself inside the goal. The win was much needed for Delhi who recently lost its first SAL match against Mariposa County.
As for Denair, even though its ladies came up short on Friday, the improvement has head coach Greggoria DeLoa excited about the upcoming schedule.
“This is the best game we’ve played all season,” DeLoa said. “We were able to make adjustments in practice and implement it in the game.”
Both teams play their next league matches on Wednesday with the Hawks hosting Waterford High and the Coyotes traveling to Le Grand High.