The Sonora Wildcats girls' soccer team kept the score close in Thursday's Valley Oak League battle against East Union, until the Lancers ran away with it in the final 20 minutes.
The first half was scoreless for 38 minutes before East Union broke through.
Despite the 6-0 loss, Wildcat head coach Denyse McLaughlin said Sonora goalkeeper Hannah Taylor had an impressive game.
"Hannah Taylor came up big all night long and made some very good saves over and over again," McLaughlin said.
After the Lancers scored their second goal in the latter half, McLaughlin said it "opened the doors" on the exhausted Wildcats, who are currently down five starters and fielding one sub.
"They played all night long and just got tired," McLaughlin said of several key starters.
Wildcat defenders Leah Divine, Meara Allan, Kayleigh Johnston and Ashley Derichweiler were "terrific" against East Union's powerful offensive attack, said McLaughlin.
"Kayleigh Johnston saved at least four right off the line," McLaughlin said. "She had her hands full all night long and just came up big. She stayed focused and tough. It was probably the best defense I've seen her play.
"My back four had a great game. It's just unfortunate we didn't have the ability to give them the rest they needed."
The Wildcats are off next week for spring break but return April 2 with a VOL challenge at Oakdale. McLaughlin said her team will use the down time to rest and get healthy.
"Oakdale's very strong and it's going to be a tough game," McLaughlin said of Sonora's next matchup. "However, we have nothing but tough games in the VOL. There isn't an easy one in front of us, so we're going to take them one at a time."