Green Valley’s girls soccer team knows it can count on its offense to win this year.
Thursday night against Coronado, the Gators leaned heavily on defense.
Junior team captain Kayla Varner notched a penalty-kick goal in the 20th minute and freshman goalkeeper Nicole Westover made six saves — all but one of them in the second half — as Green Valley improved to 4-0-1 overall and 2-0 in the Southeast League with a 1-0 shutout of the Cougars.
It was the first loss of the year for Coronado (3-1-1, 1-1).
“That game could’ve gone either way,” Gators coach Joel Parks said. “They are outstanding.
“My hat’s off to them. They were everything I thought they were going to be; they were tough. It was an outstanding match, and they gave us a great game.”
Junior Alyssa Rodriguez was dragged down inside the penalty box midway through the first half, giving the Gators a penalty kick. Varner buried the shot in the bottom right corner of the net.
Varner fired nine shots throughout the match, including three on goal. Rodriguez and freshman Cayla Imahara each had two shots on goal.
But the key to the match was the Gators’ defense.
Sophomore defenders Erika Hanuscin and London Lopez and senior sweeper Kaylynn Burgess withstood a barrage of Coronado runs and shots in the second half.
“(Each one) of them were phenomenal,” Parks said.
Coronado had a chance to tie the match in the opening minute of the second half when Sarah Pate fired straight at the goal, but Westover made the quick save.
“Absolutely stunning,” Parks said of Westover’s play. “We love her. She played a great, great game. And she’s a freshman, so that’s a nice future for our team.”
Pate had three shots on goal, as many as the rest of her team combined.