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Tigers win tourney opener

Holy Family posts win in first round state girls soccer tourney

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Holy Family quickly scored a goal, added to the lead and recorded a 5-1 win in the May 9 game against Elizabeth in the first round of the state Class 4A Girls soccer playoffs.

“Our team played well and this is a good win for us” Tigers Coach Michelle Griego-Giron said after the game. “We are having a great season although we are a young team with only two seniors on the roster and this is my first year as the head coach. Tonight’s win is just another step forward for our team.”

Fast action started immediately May 9 as each team sought to push the pace and mount attacks. Holy Family struck first about six minutes into the first half when senior Tiger sophomore Julie Geneser sent the ball across the mouth of the goal and senior teammate Kiki Napierkowski drilled a shot past the diving Cardinals goalie, putting the Tigers up 1-0. Napierkowski spearheaded another attack minutes later and scored her goal. Later in the half Bailey Sloan closed to near the goal and blasted the ball between a defender and the goalie to up Holy Family’s lead to 3-0. Elizabeth scored a goal in the closing minutes of the period so the halftime score was 3-1.

The Tigers continued to press the attack in the second half and so did the Cardinals. The Holy Family defense turned back numerous Cardinal threats while Tiger freshman Jaelen Giron scored early in the half and late in the period junior teammate Nickolette Sandoval scored on a penalty kick to seal the 5-1 victory.

Holy Family advances to the next round of the state playoffs where they are scheduled to meet 13th seeded Green Mountain on May 12. Based on team records it should be a good soccer game as the Rams come into the game with a 10-5-1 record and after the win over Elizabeth the Holy Family season record is 10-4-1

There were major changes to Holy Family girls’ soccer program this year as Griego-Giron accepted the head coaching position for the young team just a couple months before the season started.

“I do a lot of club coaching, I brought in a new system and the girls accepted all of it including all the conditioning and drills we did,” she said. “We have 34 girls on the roster so we have both junior varsity and varsity teams this season. The junior varsity team is playing well and our varsity team is strong. We have good strikers, our midfield play is solid and our defense is good. Technically this is a building year for us but we have a really good group of girls who are smart and dedicated so our team is doing very well this season.”

Junior Nicolette Sandoval leads the team in scoring this season with 14 goals and she has made nine assists.

“Soccer is my sport. I used to play basketball and run track but, since I have been playing soccer since I was a four-year-old I decided to just focus on soccer,” she said. “When I was younger I played defense, goalie and midfield then moved to being a striker. I think the other positions helped me have a good vision for the entire field.”

She said her favorite shot is of course those that go the back of the new.

“When I shoot, I prefer the high shot because it is usually harder for the goalie to get to,” Sandoval said. “I don’t have any personal goals except to help our team go far in the playoffs. I am a junior but I hope when I graduate I can go on to play soccer in college.”

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