Hawks handle Falcons
River Valley High's varsity soccer team wasn't quite ready for Natomas' speed in a Tri-County Conference opener for both teams at River Valley on Thursday.
Michael Patch scored three goals for the Nighthawks, and Juzu and Frank Ankomah scored two each in an 8-1 victory over the sophomore-heavy Falcons.
“Our defense is working on some speed right now and we're still getting some things squared away there,” River Valley coach Matt Scarfe said. “It's just not being able to keep up with varsity speed versus JV speed because most of my (defenders) are all sophomores. They're still surprised by the speed sometimes. We're working a lot on getting ready to race but we're not at the starting line.”
Natomas, which competed in the Sierra Foothill League last year, immediately came out attacking the River Valley (3-3, 0-1) defense and appeared to have scored within the first two minutes of the game. But Patch's apparent goal was nullified after a handball penalty.
Two minutes later, Patch wouldn't be denied, and he scored the first of his three goals after using athleticism and quick foot work to beat two defenders before tapping a shot past the Falcons' goal keeper for the early 1-0 lead.
Armando Villalobos put the Nighthawks ahead 2-0 in the 11th minute after heading a ball in on a corner kick.
River Valley then managed to hold off Natomas and cut its deficit to 2-1 in the 30th minute on Yousaf Ahamadi's goal.
Ahamadi took a pass and dribbled past two Natomas defenders down the middle of the field and fired a shot just inside the box. Natomas' goal keeper came out to defend and Ahamadi's shot sailed high and into the top shelf, just under the cross bar.
“It was just phenomenal foot work,” Scarfe said. “He gets most of our scoring or a good portion of it.”
River Valley's confidence would be deflated four minutes later after Juzu found the net for the first of his two goals. Ankomah then scored two minutes later, and the Nighthawks took full control.
Natomas went on to score four more goals in the second half, including two by Patch within a minute of each other early in the second half for a 6-1 advantage.
River Valley used three goalkeepers, and Scarfe said that was an area of concern.
“We still need to get that figured out. We are looking at some of the JV players,” he said. “There is a lot of talent still down there. We'll probably bring some more of that talent up.”
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org