Foothill’s girls soccer team spent the entirety of Thursday’s nearly two-hour practice drilling free kicks and corner kicks.
The Falcons are glad they did.
Dominique Clough had a goal and an assist off two corner kicks, and the Falcons held on to beat Sierra Vista 2-1 on Friday in an early match of the Las Vegas Kickoff at Madeira Canyon Park.
“We had a real rough season last year, and so to see them translating what we’re doing in practice into games is good,” Foothill coach Andrew Risheg said. “I can’t ask for anything more from them.”
The teams played to a scoreless first half, with the Mountain Lions holding the bulk of the possession and a 4-1 shots margin.
But two minutes after halftime, Foothill earned a corner kick on the right side, and Clough buried a bending shot that sneaked inside the upper left post to give the Falcons the lead.
“When I step up to a corner, I just pick a target and try to hit it,” said Clough, who admitted she wasn’t sure her ball found the net. “The last thing I see is the thing I’m going to hit.”
Sierra Vista’s Darien Walker tied the game just inside the 50th minute, gaining control of a loose ball 30 yards from goal and nailing an arcing shot that squeezed underneath the crossbar.
But Clough helped the Falcons respond — again on a corner kick. The senior defender stepped up to the same spot five minutes later, and Sarah Dusenbury headed the ball into the roof of the net for the decisive score.
“(Corner kicks were) something we didn’t do well last year at all,” said Risheg, who added much of practice focused on getting Dusenbury, the team’s tallest player, in the right position. “It was huge.
“And to score both of our goals off the set pieces that we just worked on, for this group, is amazing.”
Sierra Vista had chances to tie the match late, when Foothill surrendered three free kicks within 40 yards of the goal. But two attempts sailed well wide of the net, and the other led to an easy save for goalkeeper Kimberly Callen.
In the nightcap, the Falcons fell 4-0 to Mingus (Ariz.), one of two teams that finished the first day 2-0, along with Liberty (Calif.).
Tory Braly converted a first-half penalty kick for the Marauders, who benefitted from an own goal.
Mingus (Ariz.) 4, Palo Verde 3 — Braly notched two goals and an assist to send the Marauders past the Panthers.
Nataly Escamilla and Allyn Bachus also scored for Mingus.
Victoria DeWitt, Dakota Raleigh and Kori Jeffries struck for Palo Verde.
Liberty (Calif.) 3, Clark 0 — McKayla Farber had a goal and two assists to lead the Lions past the Chargers.
Dominique Cianfichi and McKayla Monier also scored for Liberty.
Green Valley 10, Sunrise Mountain 0 — Alyssa Rodriguez tallied two goals and an assist as the Gators routed the Miners.
Shannon Casey, Lauren Avecila, Krysta Delamora, Kayla Andersen, Jordyn Penniman, Kalina Sambrio, Jessica Messer and Ariel Higuchi also scored for Green Valley.
Summer Dano was in goal to pick up the shutout.
Clark 6, Sunrise Mountain 0 — Azucena Bernal scored three goals as the Chargers cruised past the Miners.
Kealani Chaidez, Rachel Soohoo and Kristin Hoag scored a goal apiece for Clark.
Keri Thacker claimed the shutout.
Liberty 2 (Calif.), Green Valley 0 — Farber scored almost eight minutes into the match, and Nicole Ulricksen added a goal as the Lions defeated the Gators.
Gabby Ciccoella made two saves to earn the shutout for Liberty.
Palo Verde 1, Sierra Vista 0 — Alexa D’Acunto’s goal with about 10 minutes to play was enough to send the Panthers past the Mountain Lions.
Stacie Gubler picked up the shutout.