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GARCIA NETS A CAREER HIGH FIVE GOALS IN WIN OVER WARRIORS

A career night for GW Geckos star Jalana Garcia led to a dramatic win over the St. Paul Warriors on Wednesday afternoon in the IIAAG Girls Soccer League. Garcia scored all FIVE of her team’s goals and each one was needed to hold off the Warriors in a thrilling 5-4 win.

By Nolan Miles

A career night for GW Geckos star Jalana Garcia led to a dramatic win over the St. Paul Warriors on Wednesday afternoon in the IIAAG Girls Soccer League. Garcia scored all FIVE of her team’s goals and each one was needed to hold off the Warriors in a thrilling 5-4 win.

Garcia did a little bit of everything to help her team to a victory; scoring five goals and then proceeding to play keeper towards the end of the game and making a couple of saves.

When asked about her all-around effort Garcia said: “ I just kept working, trying to set up my teammates, but when I saw the opportunities for shots I made sure to take them, and it turned out pretty well.”

The game featured plenty of offense and plenty of goals, with three lead changes and five goals in the second half alone.

The Geckos wasted no time in the first half, starting the game with a goal in the 1st minute, almost immediately after kickoff. Garcia raced downfield with the ball and shocked the Warrior goalkeeper with a shot to put her team up 1-0 early.

It only took seven minutes for the GW offense to strike again. Keeping up the intensity, Garcia slotted it past the keeper for her second goal of the game and a 2-0 lead within the first 10 minutes of the game.

Cold Stone Player of the Game: Jalana Garcia

After the fast start the Warriors were finally able to settle into a rhythm and were able to answer back with a goal of their own from striker, Jan Quintanilla. Quintanilla capitalized on a 1-on-1 opportunity with the GW keeper, blasting it into the net to get her team on the board in the 22nd minute.

The Warriors tied things up right before halftime with Lily Franklin beating the Gecko defense and converting her opportunity for a goal in the 40th minute. The goal put the score at 2-2 heading into halftime.

St. Paul carried their momentum into the second half with Quintanilla striking again, this time chipping it over the keeper for her second goal of the match in the 43rd minute. The goal put the Warriors in the lead at 3-2 and it seemed as if the match had shifted in their favor.

Down a goal, Garcia stepped up her play, frequently pressuring the Warrior keeper and defense with shots on goal. In the 59th minute Garcia cleared the Warrior defensive line and booted it past the keeper for her third goal of the match. Her hat trick tied things up at 3-3.

It didn’t take long for Garcia to strike again this time putting away a rebound off a free kick from Autumn Cruz in the 66th minute. Her fourth goal of the afternoon put her team back in the lead.

Still not satisfied, Garcia raced past the Warrior defense one more time in the 74th minute to score her fifth goal of the night and seal their win.

The Warriors caught a break in the 76th minute, earning a penalty. Chloe Miranda slotted it home to bring her team within one goal, with time running out.

With her offensive duties done, Garcia stepped in as goalkeeper in the final minutes when the Geckos’ starter went down with an injury. The Warriors gave everything they had to try and even the score, but Garcia came up big, with a couple of saves to preserve her team’s 5-4 victory.

The come from behind victory was attributed to a more concentrated effort in the second half. “My mindset was just to be more aggressive, and I told that to my teammates as well, I think that’s what helped us to comeback.”

“ This win is a big confidence booster, but we won’t think about it too long because every team is different and presents a new challenge.” said Garcia after her big day. The win puts the Geckos’ record at (4-1-0) while the Warriors fall to (2-2-1).

Moving on, the Geckos will challenge the JFK Islanders next Monday at GW. Meanwhile the Warriors will look to rebound at their home field next Monday against the Sanchez Sharks.

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