NEWCASTLE – Class 4A girls’ soccer officially got put on notice Thursday night that the Clinton girls are back, according to head soccer coach Eugene Jefferson.
The Lady Reds (10-2 overall, 5-0 in district) returned to state championship-caliber form, defeating top-ranked, district opponent Newcastle (9-2, 3-1) on the road, 3-0. In a matchup with tons of playoff implications, the Lady Reds went coast-to-coast in the win.
“I thought we turned the corner,” Jefferson said about the win against the Lady Racers. “I thought we played real well – that was a pretty good team last night (Thursday). We shut them out.
“I don’t know if they had maybe two or three shots on goal, and we had several. The score doesn’t indicate how much we dominated that game. Like I told them after the game, ‘I saw my old team back, and I’ve been missing them.’”
The win doesn’t seal up the district title yet, but it’s one of the major checkmarks off the list. Jefferson said the girls understood the magnitude of the game and rose to the occasion. All throughout practice this week, he said the offense focused on outside-to-inside attacking, and that approach netted two of the team’s three goals on the night.
Senior midfielder Aneris Soto scored the first goal on an outside-in attack 15 minutes into the game. Junior forward Macey Fernandez bookended that offensive game plan scoring one off a cross inside as well for the team’s third goal, her 15th of 2019 and 68th of her career.
Senior defender Mireya Hernandez scored the second goal for Clinton just before the half via a penalty kick. Her goal gave Clinton a 2-0 advantage. Newcastle nearly got back into the contest. A handball in the box gave the Lady Racers a PK opportunity just before halftime. Junior goalkeeper Alexia Aston made the save though, effectively squelching any chance of a comeback.
The Reds (12-0, 5-0) cruised to their 12th straight win, pummeling Newcastle (5-6, 1-3), 6-0. The Reds’ victory completed a 9-0 shutout of Newcastle soccer. Due to injury, senior leading goal scorer Nalan Kentner sat out the contest. Clinton’s stacked offense didn’t miss a beat though.
Marco Gonzalez and Roy Reyes each scored two goals, while Jose Salas and Roberto Solis scored one goal each. Jefferson said it was simply another quality win for the Reds.
“Again, the boys were just dialed in,” he said. “Newcastle was a scrappy bunch. They (the Racers) had speed and they worked hard. It took us a while to get our first one in. I think we didn’t score until about 20 or 17 minutes left in the first half.
“It took us a little bit to figure them out and knowing what works. That’s the good thing about the boys, they figure out what you’re weak at, and once they figure it out, they take control of the game.”
Both Clinton teams can clinch the 4A-1 District titles with wins against Cache Tuesday night at home, which will also be the official unveiling of the newly-renovated Tornado Bowl.