By Bonta Hill
St. Ignatius senior forward Audrey Gibson scored two second-half goals and the Wildcats shut out last season’s Division I CIF-Central Coast Section
finalist quarterfinalist Palo Alto 2-0 in the season opener for both teams at J.B. Murphy Field.
“First game of the season. I was definitely excited, so the adrenaline was running,” Gibson said. “I just came off the bench ready to play.”
The first half of play lacked much action, as both teams tried to feel each other out and both teams combined for only four shots.
Palo Alto (0-1) then came out after the halftime break and pressed the action, as the Vikings controlled possession for most of the first 20 minutes of the second half.
But St. Ignatius (1-0) would get a break though, as it got a good run from Stephanie Reiser, who dribbled down the right sideline, and blasted a shot towards Viking goalie Alex Kershner. The shot deflected off of Kershner and Gibson, who was right in the front of the net for the rebound, blasted a shot inside the right post to put the Wildcats up 1-0 in the 65th minute.
Ten minutes later, with Kershner playing out of position, Gibson garnered in a pass from Kate Bettinger and chipped it over Kershner’s head to put the Wildcats up 2-0, and seal the victory.
“Audrey works very hard and she gets all over the field with her work ethic and pace,” said St. Ignatius head coach Carlos Escobar. “Once Audrey came in, she took advantage of opportunities on both goals.”
Even though the Vikings were shut out and only managed four shots on goal, Palo Alto head coach Ernesto Cruz was still happy with his team’s performance.
“It was a good game, and I’m very happy with what I saw from my team,” Cruz said. “The communication was good and the girls seemed to bond together nicely. I feel we’ll have a good season.”
For St. Ignatius, Escobar was just looking to see how his team would react to live competition.
“[In the] first game of the season, you just want to see how the girls would gell [together],” Escobar said. “There were a couple things we can build and improve on, but overall I was thrilled with the effort the girls put in, especially towards the end of the second half.”
Gibson, the star of show, felt the victory set the tone for a season of high expectations for the Wildcats.
“It’s a great start to the season and Palo Alto is a really good team,” Gibson said. “It’s points for CCS and it sets the tone for our season.”