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Perfect 10 for Huskies
Sutter girls soccer wins 10th straight BVL title
Just a day after signing their National Letter of Intent to play at Minot State University this fall, Sutter High seniors Erika Linch, Jayden Garcia and Madison Levine went out and celebrated the accomplishment the best way they knew how — on the soccer field.
And after the performance the trio put on display against Orland on Thursday afternoon, it's easy to see why they are moving on to the next level.
With the Huskies firing on all cylinders from the start, Linch, Garcia and Levine combined for seven goals and Sutter secured its 10th consecutive Butte View League title with an easy 8-0 victory over the Trojans in the regular season finale for both teams.
The win by the Huskies avenged a scoreless draw at Orland on Jan. 22 and extended their unbeaten streak against BVL competition to 104 games dating back to Jan. 6, 2005. Sutter is 102-0-2 over that span, with the other tie coming against Orland last year.
"They did everything that I asked them to do today, and that's play our game," Sutter coach Jeff Stanhope said. "We wanted to win every single ball and keep it on our half of the field and we did that for the most part."
And once again, it was the dynamic duo of Linch and Garcia who did most of the damage offensively.
Linch recorded a hat trick in the first half as Sutter (18-2-1, 11-0-1) jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead at the intermission. The prettiest of her three goals came on a header off a perfectly placed cross from Jenna Lewis in the match's 35th minute.
Garcia wasn't too shabby, either, scoring three goals of her own and passing off to Linch for another for her team-leading 17th assist of the year.
While the two forwards have different body types — Linch stands 5-foot-11 and Garcia is 5-31⁄2 — they have a feel for each other that is hard to match once on the pitch. Having played together for 10 years, both know exactly what the other is thinking at all times and have combined to score a remarkable 181 goals over the past two seasons.
"We know a lot about the game and we know where each other should be. We don't even have to look sometimes," Linch explained. "It's like second nature. I have five senses and Jayden is my sixth."
Her scoring partner echoed that sentiment.
"We've been playing together so long, we don't have to say anything," said Garcia, who was quick to thank her teammates. "It takes the entire team to make those goals and we couldn't do it without our defenders and midfielders.
"It all starts from the back — from the goalkeeper, to the defenders on up."
Levine opened the scoring with a goal off an assist from Ciarra Beymer in the 10th minute, and Martina Damboriena put the finishing touches on the victory with a goal assisted by Alyson Zoellin midway through the second half.
Sutter dominated all facets of the game and went on to outshoot injury-plagued Orland 28-2, making it an easy day for goalkeeper Devan Reische.
"Our team has stepped it up a lot lately and I'm proud of them," Linch said. "We have a lot of different people scoring now and that helps make us more diverse."
The Huskies will now prepare for the postseason where they will look to claim an unprecedented ninth straight Northern Section title. Playoff brackets will be released on Saturday and Sutter will no doubt be the top seed once again.
"The seniors have really stepped up and got us through league this year," Stanhope said. "It was a complete game and gives us good momentum heading into the playoffs."