Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Derek Hanks era got underway Friday afternoon at Memorial Stadium as the first year Head Coach saw his women's soccer team play to a scoreless draw with Piedmont College.
The Poets and Lions played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer as they both move to 0-0-1. Piedmont was a formidable opponent for the Purple & gold to start their season as the Lions finished 2017 with a 16-0-4 record.
But Whittier rose to the occasion and controlled the tempo of the game and had opportunities holding the edge on shots (15-7), while totaling four corner kicks.
Senior keeper Stella Thermos (Seal Beach, Calif.) got the start in goal and played the first half and then made way for the freshman Vanessa Martinez (La Mirada, Calif.) who played the final 65:00 minutes turning away two shots.
Whittier didn't waste time getting a quick shot from Isabela Vargas (Newberg, OR) in the 7th minute, which forced Lion keeper Miranda McNalley into a tough save opportunity. Vargas returned seven minutes later and put another on frame this time off a corner kick fed in by Clarissa Field (Whittier, Calif.). But again McNalley came away with the stop.
In the 22nd minute the Poets fell unlucky as Miranda Yzabal (Whittier, Calif.) would take a strike from on top of the box but the shot would hit the crossbar keeping the game deadlocked. Yzabal tried again seven minutes later but this time was denied by McNalley as the game went into the half scoreless.
The Poets continued to push in the second half forcing McNalley into another five save opportunities, which included two in the 58th and 60th minutes from Field and Lyla Matar (Glendale, Calif.). Whittier tried to push in the later stages of the game getting back-to-back corner kicks. But a shot from Mikaela Malsy (Westminster, Calif.) would go off the mark and Yzabal again would get turned away.
Piedmont had their best opportunity come in the 80th minute off a corner kick as Katelyn Smith would take a strike from inside the box. But Martinez was able to come up with her biggest save of the afternoon being in the right place at the right time to deny the go-ahead goal.
In extra time, Field had one final look for the game-winner but couldn't find the back of the net as McNalley was able to hold on for the shutout.
Yzabal fired off seven shots with two being on goal, while Field, Vargas, and Joey Wescott (Agoura Hills, Calif.) were able to each add two.
Whittier remains in action this weekend as they welcome in University of Dallas this Sunday, September 2 beginning at 11:00am.