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Skins soccer suffers first-round playoff defeat at Hilmar

The Calaveras Redskins suffered a 5-2 loss Thursday afternoon against the Hilmar Yellowjackets in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Girls’ Soccer Championships. 

Thursday’s opening-round postseason matchup played at Hilmar High started drifting in favor of the Yellowjackets, who led 3-0 at halftime, after a strong offensive attack by the Redskins that didn’t net any goals in the first 15 minutes.

“I was really encouraged because we came out really strong on offense,” said Calaveras head coach Rob Leetham. “We had some good chances and didn’t finish. It’s kind of been a struggle with us all season long, we get lots of shots off that aren’t always accurate. It hurt us today because I think it would have been different if we could have converted on some of those early chances.”

Trailing 5-0, Redskin sophomore Lisa Valtierra, recently promoted from the junior varsity squad for the postseason, scored the first Calaveras goal roughly 33 minutes into the second half on a pass from Rosie Meza to prevent the shutout.

Leetham described the goal as a “beautiful left-footed shot high into the corner of the net.”

“It was very exciting,” he added.

The second Redskin goal came about four minutes later courtesy of Calaveras junior Brittany Kohler with the assist by Kassy Dietle.

“She (Kohler) has played defense for us all year and did a good job, but we pushed her up to forward in this game and she scored a goal,” Leetham said, “and it’s always nice to see a defender score a goal.”

Other Redskins who kept Calaveras battling included Kristin Kruenegel with another strong performance on defense and goalkeeper Gabby Krigbaum, according to players and coaches.

“Even though they got some shots in on Gabby, she played her heart out,” said Redskin star forward Tiffany Souza.

Souza will be saying goodbye to Redskin soccer as she graduates from Calaveras High at the end of the school year. She said that she will always cherish the memories shared with her teammates, which includes winning the school’s first Mother Lode League girls’ soccer title in 2011 and splitting it with Amador this year.

“I have had an amazing high school experience,” she said. “They were all loving, caring, funny, outgoing players and it was an honor to play with them.”

Souza plans on playing soccer at the collegiate level for San Joaquin Delta College, where she begins training in June.

Meanwhile, Leetham has had an outstanding inaugural season as head coach of varsity girls’ soccer for Calaveras (14-7-3, 11-1-3 MLL) and is excited about the future with a number of starting juniors set to return as well as JV players who made an impression on varsity near the end of the season.

“We’re a little sad but still really excited about the season we just had,” Leetham said. “It would have been nice to have won a playoff game, but anytime you share part of the league championship you can’t be too disappointed. And with the way some of the younger girls have been playing, I think the future looks bright for Calaveras.”

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