Tuesday was the story of two opposites when Hilmar hosted Delhi High for a final preseason contest for both varsity girls’ soccer teams.
Delhi, who welcomed in first year Peruvian head coach, Oscar Zagazeta, is in a rebuilding year and searching for the teams full capabilities, mainly by providing thus far a highly competitive schedule that includes two league contenders (Hilmar and Modesto).
Prior to Tuesday, Hilmar was coming off consecutive victories over Orestimba and Gustine and carried that momentum against the Hawks, earning a big 8-0 victory after goals from five different players.
“It’s going to be a long season since we have a player who left for the holidays to Mexico and we had to move up two starters from JV and all of our bench were JV players,” said Zagazeta. “It is not an excuse — we just have a lot of work to do.”
“Preseason went well, we are new to each other and we are trying to figure out what we have and the experience, but it has been a great preseason,” said Hilmar head coach Doug Delay. “We have a lot of great energy from the team and I think that is the main difference.”
Hilmar improves to 6-3-2 after the conclusion of preseason while Delhi drops to 0-4.
“Our energy has been great, but we have to keep working because there is tough competition in league and we can't just rest on what we done; we have to get ready for league,” said Delay.
League will begin on Jan. 4 for both the 'Jackets and Hawks.
Before then, they had to square off in what unfortunately, despite Delhi's first half effort, was a lopsided contest.
“The first half we played in this game was the best first half we have played so far,” said Zagazeta. “And I can see the team is improving, we just need to work on positioning and it’s something different for them, which we are trying to play a South American style like Peru but we are still working on it.”
It took less than 20 minutes for Hilmar to capitalize on their opportunities after Betzy Chavez and Emily Vieira each knocked in a goal to put the home team up 2-0. Right at the 27 minute mark, Korey Pettigrew followed with the third goal, which ended the half at 3-0.
“Things we’ve been doing during training, the girls were looking not to just drive the ball down the field but looking to run different patterns get some people off balance with where we move the ball to,” said Delay.
The second half was a quick barrage of Hilmar attempts while they attacked the back line from various areas and crosses.
Senior Kayley Pettigrew scored two of the next three goals for Hilmar at the 45th and 55th minute. Chavez added her second goal of the afternoon at the 53rd minute.
Hilmar led 6-0 by the 55th minute mark and in the closing minutes, including stoppage time, Michaela Petersen knocked in two quick goals to create the eight-goal difference.
“I definitely saw it in this match and anytime you score eight goals in a match you are doing something right but it started with energy and communication and that was good today,” said Delay.
Hilmar goalkeeper Mikayla Schmidt finished with three saves.
As a team, Hilmar finished the game with 27 shots, including 21 shot on goal.
“What I am going to tell the girls is that we had good energy and focus, but we have to get better,” said Delay. “If we want to go far in league or after league, we have to keep getting better. That means we have to work hard in training, our touches have to get better and we have to minimize our mistakes.
“Even in a game like this one where we were quite successful, we still had too many unforced errors, we have to clean that up if we want to get better,” he continued.
The upside for Delhi is their goalkeeper, junior Danielle Valdez, who finished the game with over double-digit saves.
“The way I see it, it’s a long term project, it’s not for this season to be victorious but in the future they will,” said Zagazeta. “So our goal is to learn and second to have fun. We will not go by the win-loss column, we're going to stress fundamentals and do the best we can and go from there that is the plan.”
Hilmar's first Trans-Valley League contest will be at home against Mountain House at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 4.
Delhi's first Southern Athletic League bout will be at home against Mariposa at 6 p.m. Jan. 4.