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Balanced offense, outstanding defense lead Lady Jags to two shutout wins in field hockey


September 26, 2013
The most basic sports principle comes down to one thing: scoring more than your opponent.

Every team tries its best to maintain good balance between offense and defense, but most often, a team will, over time, develop an identity of one over the other. Some teams will light up the scoreboard like a cell phone in a microwave, while others spend their nights dreaming of ways to frustrate every move the opposition makes.

And when these two fundamental aspects of the game come together for a team, the result is usually a really fun season for everyone involved.

So far in 2013, the Valley Center varsity girls field hockey team has shown brilliant flashes of superb talent on both sides of the ball, and the Lady Jaguars put together another pair of outstanding games in two wins this week.

The Lady Jags hosted Helix last Wednesday and kept the pressure on throughout the game to take a 5–0 victory.

Valley Center held on through a mostly defensive first few minutes of the game, then started the scoring midway through the first half when Savanna Fiehler wound up for a long shot off a corner and put it past the keeper. A few minutes later, Emily Hutchinson scored on a rebound that came on a shot off another corner, giving her team a two-goal advantage. And just over five minutes after that, Bianka Pacheco put home another rebound goal off of a corner to put Valley Center up 3–0 at halftime.

The Lady Jaguars' leading scorer, Delaney Cummings, went to work in the second half, as she scored a pair of beautiful goals — and came within a few feet of notching a hat trick on a shot that went in, but came from outside the circle — to round out the big team win.

Valley Center, sophomore sensation Bailey Sanders turned in another fantastic performance, as she made only two official saves but kept the goal area clear as her defense shut down the passing lanes in front of her.

"It's exciting to see what can happen when we put it all together," said head coach Rebecca Embrey after the win. "We connected our passes well, and that stems from having great communication, especially in the circle. We set our pace and we didn't let the other team set the tone."

The Lady Jags then traveled to Chula Vista on Friday and did their damage early in taking a 7–0 win.

All seven goals came in the first half, as the Lady Jaguars poured on the pressure right from the opening whistle, then mixed up the lineup as the goals kept coming.

The results were that both Hutchinson and Becca Vizcarra finished with hat tricks, while freshman Chandler Hall added the seventh goal. Vizcarra also added an assist, while both Sanders and Savanna Reilly got to see some action in goal to collectively earn the shutout.

"I can usually tell from the pregame warm-ups if we're going to have a good day," Coach Embrey added. "We're usually a second-half team, but we've come out with great intensity and we set the tone."

The Lady Jaguars have a pair of home games coming up next week, as they host Rancho Bernardo on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. and San Dieguito Academy next Friday at 3:45 p.m.

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