Three was a good number for the Tokay High girls soccer team on Thursday.
The Tigers played their third home game of the season on the newly revamped Hubbard Field against rival Lodi. One of the Tigers’ players had three shots on goal — but only one was needed.
That worked for Tokay, which posted a 1-0 win over Lodi in a Tri-City Athletic League game on Thursday. This was Tokay’s first win on its on-campus field in three attempts; Liberty Ranch posted a 3-0 win over the Tigers in the first game played on the all-turf field on Dec. 14, 2018 and West had a 2-1 win on Tuesday.
In the 43rd minute of the contest, Tokay (1-1-1 in the TCAL, 4-4-3) got in its lone goal thanks to four-year starter in midfielder Sophia Casciaro. Taking a pass from teammate Shayla Bradley, Casciaro struck the ball into the center of the net.
“I was just excited to take my time and buried it,” Casciaro said.
Tokay coach Sam Gonzalez added, “Having someone that can get the ball, make runs, that’s not afraid to take on players. She’s not afraid to shoot. It’s a good feeling to have Sophia on the team.”
Casciaro had her second chance 10 minutes later. Now in the box, Casciaro and Lodi goalie Reese Odell battled for the ball that shifted from the center and left sides of the net. But the ball rolled out of bounds, giving Lodi (0-2 in the TCAL, 1-8-1) the soccer ball back on offense.
“If you’re not solid in the back, she can hurt you,” said Lodi coach Tim Stutz on Casciaro. “We played with a little bit more patience to the midfield. I had two freshmen out there most of the time, three sophomores at some points. We’re young. I don’t want to call it a rebuilding year because I’m not giving up on anything. I’m proud of how we responded.”
Lodi forward Rachel Sutter, another four-year starter who is going to the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, La. on a scholarship, had two of her three shots on goal in the 58th and 70th minutes of the game. The first attempt came when Sutter drove the ball down the Flames’ sidelines with no Tiger players around her. From the right side, Sutter booted the ball that Tokay goalie Madison Convey-Taylor, who had three saves in the contest.
Sutter’s second chance in the second half was a one-on-one battle with Casciaro, this time on the left side of the field near the Tigers’ bench. Sutter was able to get the shot off, only to watch the ball bounce off the side of the crossbar and rolled out of bounds.
“The girls did their part,” Gonzalez said. “They all worked together as a team.”
Casciaro took her third chance at the net in the 71st minute. After a throw-in, she took the ball and kept it on the ground for almost 15 yards, reaching the right side of the Flames’ box. But Odell grabbed the ball for a save and put it back into play.
“They have a pretty solid midfield,” said Casciaro of the Flames’ midfield that included Sutter, Cecilia Chinchiolo, Allyson Bender and Andrea Becerra.
Tokay had two more chances at the Flames’ net in the 78th and 79th minutes of the contest. Noelia Salas, on a free kick, watched the ball sail to the outside of the Flames’ net. Bradley, coming off a cross-field pass from Casciaro, took her shot that rolled to the side. Both shots were to the right of the goal.
Winning their first-ever game on the new turf, and against Lodi, made the Tigers happy.
“Getting the first victory at the field is what they wanted,” said Gonzalez of his squad. “We succeeded today, which is great. We’ve struggled in the past to beat Lodi. This feels good.”
Casciaro added, “It’s super-exciting to beat Lodi, first win on this field. I’m excited to see what (other) games we can win on this field.”
Lodi was without the services of defenders Mohrgan Fry and Elyssa Santana, both of whom were out because of illness.
“It shifted everybody,” Stutz said. “But I’m not making excuses. We are more solid in the middle at that point.”
Tokay continues league play at St. Mary’s next Tuesday. Lodi returns to its on-campus field also next Tuesday, hosting Tracy.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.