Sparks girls boot Dayton 4-1
DAYTON – Dayton High fired the first salvo, but Sparks won the war.
The Railroaders scored three second-half goals to snap a first-half tie and beat the Dust Devils 4-1 in a Northern 3A girls soccer match Thursday afternoon.
The loss dropped Dayton to 0-2 in league play and 2-4 overall. Sparks is 1-0 and 4-1 overall. Two of Sparks’ wins have come at Dayton’s expense.
Sparks was able to take advantage of Dayton’s inexperience and lack of fitness in the final 40 minutes. Dayton also had three players come out at various times because of injuries.
“Part of it is fitness,” Dayton coach Jared Miklich said. “It’s always been a struggle for us here. There isn’t a league around here for our girls to play in, so it makes it a little hard.”
So soccer becomes a sport that is only played in season, and that makes it hard for Dayton to compete with other teams who play year-round. It also makes the first couple weeks of the season tough because the players are adjusting to each other and learning to play together.
Sparks controlled the play and tempo early. Dayton had two nice runs in the first 11 minutes, but didn’t get off a shot on goal on either attempt.
The Dust Devils finally got on the board in the 19th minute when Savana Parsons scored on about a 30-yard kick.
“It was kind of a flukey goal,” Miklich said. “I told the girls to take their shots, and I didn’t care if it was from 30 or 40 yards. Just put it on the frame.”
It took only five minutes for Sparks to even the score at 1 on a goal by Jessica Mendoza, whose high shot bounced off the hands of a leaping Natasha Wells and into the net. It was Mendoza’s seventh goal of the young season.
Sparks kept up the pressure and ended the half with a 9-5 edge in shots on goal.
“We were kind of flat,” Sparks coach Jerry Miller said. “We looked a little tired. The first week of school the games are usually ugly.
“Our attack was real flat. The midfielders moved up and the forwards were on the line. We had no midfield. They were running into each other. After halftime we moved the midfielders back and that gave us some spacing.”
Sparks had nine more shots on goal in the second half compared to just four for Dayton.
Dannae Soto broke the tie in the 54th minute, and then Mendoza added an insurance goal with approximately 10 minutes left in the contest. Maria Sanchez’s goal completed the scoring.