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Gridley Herald

Lady Lions Setting High Standards for Season

Nov 30, 2023 10:29AM ● By Steven Bryla

Live Oak freshman midfielder Isabella Tinoco (9) controls the ball in the Lady Lions 2-1 win over Yuba City on Monday, November 20. Photo by Steven Bryla

LIVE OAK, CA (MPG) - The Live Oak Lady Lions soccer program started their 2023-24 season with an impressive 2-1 non-league victory over the Yuba City Lady Honkers on Monday, November 20.

Although Live Oak controlled the ball well for the majority of the game, Yuba City got on the scoreboard in the 25th minute when freshman Gloria Gutierrez Valverde scored from 20 yards out to give the Lady Honkers a 1-0 lead.

Yuba City had plenty of players playing out of position, and Lady Honkers head coach Jerry Schicht expressed to Messenger Publishing Group that his team is used to moving around the field on a consistent basis.

A perfect example of positional changes couldn’t have been more evident as Yuba City junior Audrey Wilson was called upon to step into the goalie box with an in-game substitution.

Wilson was able to make some key saves from the ruthless offense of Live Oak, and they notoriously kept putting pressure on Wilson throughout the night.

Wilson had four saves in the game, which included two penalty-shot saves before Lady Lions senior striker Mckayla Holman scored on a penalty kick in the 56th minute to tie the game at one.

Both Live Oak and the Lady Honkers had significant opportunities to go ahead within the final 15 minutes, but it was the Lady Lions who scored in the 89th minute as senior midfielder Lizabeth Topete fired a ball towards the net, and Wilson initially saved it but the heavy impact from the save pushed the momentum of the ball behind and it trickled behind Wilson into the back of the net.

Live Oak head coach Jose Acosta told MPG that his roster is well-balanced this year and they are ready to make an impact this season after they came up short in the CIF Northern Section Division II final against University Prep and a first-round exit in the CIF Division V NorCal Championship tournament against Oakland Tech.

Key returners for the Lady Lions include Holman, senior defender Maya Goodson, and midfielder Johanna Petrone. Petrone and Holman were the top two goal scorers and assists leaders in the CIF Northern Section last year.

Live Oak senior defender Maya Goodson (4) has a free-kick opportunity during the Lady Lions 2-1 victory over Yuba City on Monday, November 20. Photo by Steven Bryla

Acosta added that his roster is looking for key contributions from senior midfielders Melissa Gutierrez and Topete as well to add to the leadership on the team.

For Yuba City, Schicht told MPG that he is looking at his returning defenders that include seniors Alexis Rose and Madeline Roy, and juniors Angela Berry and Rosa Barriga Valencia to make an impact on the field. 

Schicht added that the front line that has Gutierrez Valverde and senior captain Gabby Rojas is going to be a force for opposing defenses.

Schicht told MPG that his entire midfield and front line from last season is gone and they played significant minutes last season.

Both Acosta and Schicht told MPG they are excited about the youth they have on their roster.

Schicht expressed that sophomore twins Miya and Bella Basrai have started out their sophomore seasons with a promising future as they both have made it into the starting lineup this year.

Acosta told MPG that freshman midfielders Isabella Tinoco, Cecilia Caracheo and Nathalie Gutierrez will be impactful on the field for the Lady Lions this season.

Live Oak finished second in the Sacramento Valley League while Yuba City finished fifth in the Capital Valley Conference last season, which caused them to miss out on the postseason despite having 15 wins as a team last year.

The Lady Honkers are competing in the Oroville tournament this weekend.

All club soccer players returned to their high school teams this week as they finished up their club season last week.