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Soccer: U-14 Girls Traveling Team, Lassen Arsenal, Get another Win, Now 7-1

susanvilleautosports180by Niki Cunningham
Sports Editor

Bob Nielsen 

The U-14 Lassen Arsenal played their last home game of the season, hosting the Redding Fire at Riverside Park.  With several injured players, several team members played different positions, most notably Lexie Stevens played as keeper as she was recovering from a sprained ankle from a Cross Country meet.  Amber Jackson covered Stevens’ defensive position, and Brittney Patton started the game as a striker.  In the beginning of the game, the team had to make a few adjustments.  While Lassen was trying to get their passing game going, the Fire kept the ball in their offensive half of the field.  The Arsenal Defensive three, led by Jackson, kept the ball away from the goal, and started several good counter-attacks that ended up with shots on goal. 
In their previous match, the Fire went up 1-0 early in the game, but Lassen came back to win 4-1.   Lassen didn’t allow the Fire to lead off the scoring this time.  Once the Lassen ladies found their stride, the ball stayed more on their attacking half.  The hustle of the midfield led to some exciting play.  Midfielder Sierra Huskey attacked a loose ball near the half line, passing to midfielder Paige Martin, who sent a beautiful diagonal through ball into the box and Lassen finally broke the tie with a left footed finish by midfielder Jamie Elliot.
Not comfortable with a 1-0 lead, Lassen kept the pressure up.  After just a couple of minutes, Lassen earned a corner kick.  Jackson, who came out of the defense to take the kick, sent a lovely cross right in front of the goal.  The ball bounced back out to a solitary Jackson (on her way back to the defense) at the top of the 18.  She took control of the ball and sent a high shot over everyone that dropped in for Arsenal’s second goal of the day. 
Down 2-0, the Fire quickly regrouped and started getting the ball down field.  Within the next five minutes, Stevens had to field several shots and crosses.  She did an excellent job blocking the initial shot, but one slipped out of her hands and several players converged on the ball.  One of the Redding forwards got just enough of it to move it past the defenders towards the goal.  Martin, covering the goal line, made an attempt to keep the ball from going into the goal, but couldn’t quite get enough of it and the ball made it over the goal line to bring the score to 2-1. 
Reinvigorated, the Fire pressed forward through the end of the first half.  The two offenses resorted to long sends and fewer passes, wearing down both offense and defense.  The Lassen and Redding Defenses did well to deny any further scoring in the half. 
After the halftime break, both teams came back onto the field poised and ready to score.  While Lassen had more shots on goal in the second half, Redding controlled the passing game.  They passed at will through the midfield, but defenders Jackson, Gabi Nielsen, Shannon Ferrall and kept the pressure off the Goalie through most of the half.  Stevens came up with a couple of big saves to preserve the lead. 
Offensively, the midfielders worked well with the strikers, and while several good opportunities were missed by inches, the Redding Defense also kept the ball out of their keeper’s hands for most of the half.  Although frustrated and tired, the Arsenal offense never gave up.  In fact, the offense was just getting ready to make another attack on goal when time was called, and Lassen came away with their 7th victory on the season.  They play their final regular season game on Nov. 1st in Anderson against the Bone Crushers.  A win will seal first place in the 8-team league. 
Striker Kristin Zamora (Front)  making a run on goal as Midfielder Emma Newton (back) races past the Redding defender with the ball.

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Soccer: U-14 Girls Traveling Team, Lassen Arsenal, Get A Huge Win, Now 6-1

susanvilleautosports180by Niki Cunningham
Sports Editor

Bob Nielsen 

A week after losing for the first time this season, the U-14 Lassen Arsenal hosted the Palo Cedro Mustangs, another one loss team, rested and ready to win.  Missing several key players to injuries, the girls adjusted by expertly covering their positions.  In the opening minutes, it looked to be another rough game for Lassen, as the Mustangs worked the ball through the midfield and put pressure on the defensive back line with speed and effective passing.
Once the Arsenal defense adjusted, and started sending the ball to the waiting midfield, the attack on the Mustang’s goal got underway.  After the second save by the Palo Cedro keeper, she carried the ball forward to kick it to her teammates, but inadvertently handled it outside of the penalty box, giving Lassen a direct free kick from 18 yards out.  The Mustang defense set up a wall with 6 defenders 10 yards away, so midfielder Paige Martin laid it off to a waiting Emma Newton, who put a one-touch chip-shot over the wall and the keeper just below the crossbar at the back post, putting Lassen up 1-0.
Having broken the ice, Lassen began to pressure the goal more intensely.  Forwards Lily Francois and Kristen Zamora kept the defense off-balance, and had many open shots on goal that were saved.  The midfielders kept the ball forward most of the first half, and when it did slip through, stoppers Allie Maggarrell, Jamie Elliot, and Kaylee Dollar kept it from going to the fullbacks. By dominating the ball at midfield, the Mustangs were not given many chances to shoot on goal, and they went to half time down by one to the home team.
Given 10 minutes to rest and reset, Arsenal came to the second half ready to put the game away.  After a few minutes of Lassen pressuring the goal, the Mustangs conceded a corner kick.  Center defender Amber Jackson came up to cross the ball, which found Newton waiting at the back door, who made no mistake about finishing the goal.
Brittney Patton, who came out of the goal for the second half to play forward, dominated the left side with her strength, size, and passing.  After pulling the defense to her, she made some excellent passes, one of which result in the second goals in two minutes by Newton, earning Newton a hat trick on the day.
With a 3-0 lead, Lassen looked to have the game in hand, and as the time went on, the Mustangs showed signs of wearing down.   After several unsuccessful runs on goal, Zamora took a well-timed send past two defenders for a break away on goal.  Unwilling to let the pursuing defender intimidate her, she passed the ball to the lower right hand corner, well past the reach of the Mustangs goal keeper, bringing the score to 4-0.
With the defense stepping up to keep all additional threats away from their keeper, and the forwards pressuring the goal until the end of the game, the Lassen Arsenal played their best game of the season.  Through creative ball movement and aggressive play, they retain their first place standing and displayed a team effort.  Lassen plays at Riverside Park on Saturday, Oct 18th at 2:00 against the Redding Fire.

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