Honkers cruise past Falcons
A beaming Jasmin Mercado trotted from the goalie's box to the sideline while giving a piggy back ride to one of her defenders.
"That's my workout for the day," she said.
To earn her fifth straight shutout, the Yuba City High girls soccer keeper spent most of her afternoon relaxing and watching her teammates pepper their cross-town rival in a 5-0 thumping over River Valley Thursday.
"Sometimes I get a little bored back there," she said after exalting the play of her defense. "It's really nice to sit back and see what they can do."
It's true. Yuba City, a team that hasn't made the playoffs in six years, is really that good. They've won seven in a row, haven't allowed a goal in their perfect start to Tri-County Conference play and are one victory away from clinching their first postseason berth since 2004.
"I'm proud of these girls," Honkers coach Joey Contreras said. "We're enjoying this."
Talent and results usually bring about such feelings of bliss. And based on Yuba City's roster and current pace of leaving everyone in it's wake, Falcons coach Manny Serda doesn't see it stopping anytime soon.
To sum up his scouting report of Yuba City: They're solid everywhere.
"(Yuba City) has a strong backfield, quality players, speed on top, a strong midfield, good ball handlers and the way they were (communicating) was key," he said before essentially writing off the contest as a learning lesson. "This was a good practice game for us."
For the Honkers (7-2, 5-0), a team that fell twice to the Falcons last year, it felt very real.
Lexi Giusti remembers hustling, battling and striving against their rival last year, and it still wasn't enough. For her first opportunity against River Valley (3-5-1, 0-4-1) as a senior, she needed 19 minutes to smack in what would be the deciding goal. Posting up 30 yards directly in front of the net, she sent a high-arching shot with pristine placement into the back of the net.
"We worked as hard as we could last year, we were so close," said Giusti, who added another goal off a corner kick. "It's always exciting to play RV because everybody gets pumped up."
And Yuba City stayed wired until the final whistle blew. Even without their leading scorer, freshman Cassidy Fix, out hurt, Yuba City essentially set up camp inside the Falcons' zone.
Alyssa Nava put the lead at 2-0 in the 29th minute, Giusti's second score made it 3-0 and Alex Peiffer battled with a host of River Valley defenders to earn every bit of her goal in the 48th minute.
Not to be outdone Jules Yahn struck a ball from just feet away from where a player would make a corner kick and sent it sailing into the upper left corner of the net.
The Honkers bench erupted, the coaches smiled and even the line judge audibly voiced his thoughts on how impressive the play was.
"That's about the most incredible shot I've seen in a long time."