After a two week layoff Villarreal returned to State Cup on November 17, for a semi-final match in Manteca against the Sacramento Soccer Alliance Dragons. Midway through the first period Villarreal struck first when Caroline Ghisletta broke through the Dragons defense to give Villarreal a 1-0 lead. Despite stellar defense from Villarreal, after the half break the Dragons struck back and tied the game with less than 15 minutes to go. Fortunately, Villarreal was not going to be denied the victory. With four minutes left in the game Forward Kristin Saunders nailed the game winner which would send Villarreal into Championship game.
Early on Sunday morning, with the field still covered in fog and ice, Villarreal returned to for the Championship match against the Lamorinda Soccer Club. The match was tied until the 15 minute mark when Center-Mid Emi Tahara struck a perfect corner kick to her twin sister Mia Tahara who booted it in for the goal. The defense, led by Zoe Ortega, Sage Madden, Juliana Balestrieri, Isabel Cheung, Sarah Berten and Keeper Gillian Bowles would flex its defensive muscles and the half would end with Villarreal leading 1-0. With just a couple minutes gone in the second period, Forward Alyssa Lund broke away for a score to put Villarreal up 2-0. Alyssa was not done, at the 10 minute mark, Alyssa struck again putting Villarreal up 3-0. Up 3-0 Villarreal let its defense take over. While Lamorinda came on strong at the end of the game, Keeper Gillian Bowles had the game of the season stopping shot after shot, including multiple breakaways that seemed certain to be goals. Ultimately, Villarreal was not to be denied, showing that with a tough defense, timely shooting, team work and good coaching, they could be champions, winning 3-1.
Picture Bottom from left to right.
Sage Madden, Mia Tahara, Sarah Berten, Zoe Ortega, Juliana Balestrieri and Gillian Bowles
Back row from left to right.
Asst. Coach Steven Tahara, Caroline Ghisletta, Alyssa Lund, Isabelle Cheung, Head Coach Jenni Cienfuegos, Kristin Saunders, Emi Tahara and Asst. Coach Brad Bowles