Turlock High experienced a rude awakening Wednesday night in its Central California Conference home opener against Atwater High. The Falcons managed to do to the Bulldogs what none of the CCC teams were able to do last season—beat them.
Turlock looked strong through much of the match as it asserted control over the ball and tempo of play, but a last minute lapse at the end of the first half produced an Atwater goal and led to a sobering 1-0 defeat.
“It’s a loss that we take to heart,” Turlock’s head coach Cathi Cshali-Lopez said. “They were able to capitalize and we didn’t.”
Atwater utilized a strategy of defensive counter attacks against the Bulldogs which kept the defending CCC champions off-balance and frustrated. Still, Turlock stifled the Falcons’ scoring attempts for much of the first half as its defenders kept opponents at bay. Ashlen Kuntz’s finger tip save in the 30th minute kept the score even, but Turlock’s goalie wouldn’t be so lucky nine minutes later. With less than a minute before halftime, Atwater’s Alyssa Ruiz snagged a Turlock pass and darted down the field where she pushed the ball past Kuntz and into the back of the net for the unassisted goal.
Turlock entered the second half with a heightened sense of urgency and again displayed great ball control, but as was the case in the first half its girls were unable to produce goals. Despite their struggles to find the net the Bulldogs outshot Atwater 16-7, a sign of a talented but not yet cohesive unit.
“The girls have it, and we’re going to get there, but we have this one little set back to deal with first,” Cshali-Lopez said. “We had our emotional moments and we’re going to use those emotions to our benefit by improving our game on the field.”
Though Turlock’s 15 match win streak in the CCC is over, its goal of another league title is still alive. Turlock will continue its CCC campaign on Monday when it travels to Golden Valley High to face the Cougars.