by Niki Cunningham
ereporter: Bob Nielsen
he Lady Grizzlies soccer team faced off against the Anderson Cubs under the lights Tuesday night. With two starters out with injuries, Lassen moved some players around to fill the gaps. The result was an impressive show of force and a dominant attacking side.
Anderson played a physically aggressive game, and Lassen did well to absorb the hits and stay focused on playing their own style of soccer, with accurate passing and dangerous crosses across the goal. Early on, forward Francis Lopez sent a beautiful ball from the right side across the middle, where forward Hailey Chittock was in a perfect position to get a shot on goal. She blasted it, but the Anderson keeper was in a good position to save it, preserving the 0-0 tie.
Unfazed, Lassen stayed on the offensive. They continued the attack on goal with a combination of speed and good crossing, testing the strength of the Anderson Keeper, who made some more impressive saves. However, as the Grizzlies kept up the pressure, Jenna Monahan broke the tie with a low shot to the back post. Lassen never looked back, and Monahan would add two more throughout the game, earning her first hat trick of the season. Chittock also got in the scoring action, contributing two and Chloe Monahan did a nice job up on top and netted one.
Brianna Mendonca was responsible for assisting in four of Lassen’s six goals. Two of those assists came from free kicks from 35 yards out, sending the ball past the defense but out of the keeper’s range. Having moved into the center midfield position towards the end of pre-season, she has excelled at moving the ball to people in position to score, and leads the league in assists. Her excellent touch on the ball has been a real strength to the Grizzlies so far.
Defensively, the Grizzlies forced the Cubs to the outside, where Morgan Martin and Sabrina Huskey contained the attack, supported by solid play by Brianna Ashmore. Backed by sweeper Brenna Mendonca, they worked together to force turnovers, and quickly passed it up field. On the rare occasion when Anderson found a crack in the defense, the two Lassen Keepers held strong on the back line. They had a combined six saves throughout the game, earning their second straight shutout.
Lassen is now 3-0 in league play, and faces off against 3-0 West Valley on Thursday at Riverside Park at 5:15. Both teams have played well, with West Valley the favorite coming off of a big tournament win in the pre-season. As they are currently tied for first, Thursday’s winner will sit on top of the NAL.