Girls Soccer: Balboa scores lone goal in second half to force tie with Lincoln

Balboa freshman forward Calvonnia Kelly (left) battles for possession of a loose ball with Lincoln junior defender Laura Alvarez-Martinez on Thursday at Balboa High School. (Photo by Clarivel Fong)

By Jeremy Balan

As Lowell High School’s girls soccer team continues to romp through its Academic Athletic Association schedule, the competition for the title of the league’s second-best squad has been foggy.

That race didn’t get any clearer after a 2-2 tie between Balboa and Lincoln on Thursday at Balboa High School.

The Mustangs (2-0-2 in AAA) carried a 2-1 lead into the halftime break, but Balboa (2-3-1) provided a moment of excitement in a largely uneventful second half with an equalizing goal in the 59th minute.

Lincoln sophomore Juliana Martinez (right) is met by a Balboa defender on Thursday at Balboa High School. (Photo by Clarivel Fong)

Balboa senior Yasmeen Gardner sent a free kick into the penalty area from the left corner, the ball bounced around in the box and caromed to freshman Calvonnia Kelly, who tapped a goal into the unattended net.

Kelly also scored to even the game at 1-1 in the 28th minute on another ball from Gardner. Again on the left wing, Gardner sent a low crossing pass to the near post, where Kelly volleyed the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.

“[Gardiner] is a big asset. I just need her to work on her conditioning a little bit,” said Balboa head coach Rocio Ramirez. “Other than that, she has amazing footwork.”

The Bucs battled back to get a point, but likely would have secured three if not for two defensive breakdowns in the first half.

Both Lincoln goals were scored as a result of breakaways from speedy Mustangs’ forwards after drawn-up Balboa defenders pinched in at midfield.

The first goal was scored by sophomore Juliana Martinez in the second minute and the second came on a penalty kick from junior Laura Alvarez-Martinez in the 32nd minute, after senior Erika Ruiz was fouled from behind by a Balboa defender in the penalty area.

“We came here for three points, but unfortunately we didn’t get them,” said Lincoln assistant coach Jose Ricardo Menendez. “It’s still OK. We’re still adding [points] and you have to give credit to Balboa for defending its home turf.”

Balboa remains in fourth place in the Rueda Division and still needs to make up a lot of ground on O’Connell and Washington if they want to make the playoffs, while Lincoln remains undefeated, but is still behind Galileo in the Heinline Division.

The Mustangs haven’t won a AAA championship since 1997, but are the only team other than Lowell to win a league title and Menendez feels that on any given day, Lincoln can take down the 14-time defending champions.

“Lowell is a great team, but that doesn’t mean we can’t beat them if we play like we’re supposed to,” Menendez said.

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  1. 4keeps says:

    Great game and well officiated. The wet turf/ ball made a difference of how the ball was handled by both teams. Lincoln did much better this game but the defense let a few slip by. Give credit to the great ball handling by Balboa players. Lincolns sweeper is awesome and should make 1st team this year defensive player. Lincoln has good defense to clear the ball and their fast breaks are a dangerous. If Lincoln worked on passing traping, and moving off the ball they could really give lowell a run for the money. They are few girls that obivious have a heart to play the game but they need to learn the basic fundamentals in trapping passing and dribbling the ball. Both LIncoln and Balboa have decent goal keepers that equally matched in skills. Balboa played a great midfield on possesion and winning the ball but could use help to switch to the both wings to confuse their opponents. Balboa has potential to really give Lowell a run for their money too.
    Great match and good luck to both teams.

  2. Lowell House says:

    No one will beat Lowell, other teams are hardly worth covering. Even the Lowell games are not that interesting to read about, since they always win 6-0. (that’s when coach Estebez calls legal and tell them not to score)

  3. Wet-Dogg says:

    great job yasmeen!

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