Wilson scored a trio of high quality goals but the Bruins only needed one with Olivia Herrera in goal. The sophomore goalkeeper posted a clean sheet with 13 saves in a 3-0 victory that moves Wilson to the top of the Moore League girls’ soccer table.
“Liv came up huge and she gives our whole team confidence,” Wilson coach Dalton Kaufman said of his goalie. “She stole three goals from them. If it wasn’t for her it could’ve easily been a tie game. She’s grown and she’s only a sophomore but she’s playing like a woman.”
Wilson took the lead in the 27th minute on a cracking goal from sophomore Reese Doherty, and junior captain Cade Mendoza fed senior Samantha Thompson for two goals in the second half. Kaufman was visibly emotional after the match.
“These girls really care,” Kaufman said. “Having them out here, playing hard, they deserve it. This goes for athletes across the nation, I just feel for them. I think we coached a pretty simple game and these girls just battled and I couldn’t be more proud of them. This is as proud as I’ve been since the last time we won league.”
Herrera made all but two of her saves in the second half as the two organized defenses locked down the first half besides Doherty’s wonder strike from 25 yards out into the upper V. Senior Samantha Brandts provided the assist.
With the wind at their backs Millikan opened the second half with four shots in the first 10 minutes after the break, but Herrera was well positioned all night.
“I kind of played a little bit higher because I could tell by their through balls that I knew I had to get on top of every single one of those,” Herrera said.
Minutes before Mendoza and Thompson scored the insurance goals, Herrera made a highlight save on a point-blank header that had the Wilson bench buzzing. She went airborne to get her offhand on the shot.
“We were creating some chances and could’ve gotten back into the game and that’s when big time players show up and (Herrera) is defiantly a big time player,” Millikan coach Tino Nunez said. “She had great saves.”
Millikan outshot Wilson 16-7 while drawing 18 fouls, but the Rams couldn’t capitalize on their set piece chances.
“I wasn’t surprised (by my saves) because I know I work super hard,” Herrera said.
Wilson’s next tough challenge will be April 13 when the Bruins host the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits. Millikan has Jordan on Tuesday.