📅29 March 2018
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By Nolan Miles

The St. Paul Warriors defeated the Okkodo Bulldogs 1-0 in a tough, physical battle in the IIAAG Girls Soccer League. Both teams started off their season on a breezy Wednesday afternoon at Okkodo field as the Warriors were able to outlast the Bulldogs thanks to a goal from Chloe Miranda and a big performance by freshman goalkeeper Katrina Santos.

The low scoring affair was the result of a gritty battle, in which neither team was able to really find an offensive rhythm.

“They were aggressive, but soccer is a physical sport, so we were able to adapt to it and work together to accomplish our goal.” said Miranda when asked about the offensive struggles.

Both teams entered the game ready to prove themselves, setting a fast pace and attacking often. The front line of St. Paul had more opportunities early in the game with Miranda and forward, Jan Quintanilla, constantly pressuring the Okkodo defense with shots on goal.

The Bulldogs got their best chances in the first half during counterattacks by using through balls to get behind the Warriors defense. But every run was stopped by Santos who looked like a veteran in the goal box in only her first high school start.

Wendy’s Players of the Game – Katrina Santos and Chloe Miranda

Towards the end of the first half the Warriors picked up their intensity, connecting passes and getting shots on goal. Their efforts were rewarded in the form of a corner kick which sailed past the Okkodo keeper’s gloves right to Miranda who tapped it in to put her team in front.

“We had multiple corner kicks in that first half and I knew we had to capitalize on that, so my mindset was to get a goal.” said Miranda who also attributed the win to communication and teamwork.

Possession was back-and-forth to start the second half, as each team started to get more physical.
The physicality resulted in a couple of injuries and a yellow card given to St. Paul.

On the ensuing free kick after the yellow card Santos came up with a big save to keep her shutout intact. As Okkodo got more aggressive towards the end of the game Santos and her defensive line came up with stop after stop.

When asked about her big performance Santos said: “In the first half I still had butterflies in my stomach, but in the second half I really calmed down and I was able to make plays because of what I learned in practice.”

Santos also praised her defense for helping to take the pressure off of her and keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard.

The Warriors start the season off on the right foot and look to ride the momentum from this win into their match with Southern this Saturday. The Bulldogs look to recover from the close loss with a game against St. John’s next Wednesday.


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