player looks tired at halftime

Loss doesn’t dampen Oilers’ sprit

on December 7, 2012

Forty-five minutes after scoring her first goal of the season, on a penalty shot, junior Joselyn Navarro couldn’t stop smiling.

“It is like all of these mixed emotions,” Navarro said. “Because it was the first goal of the season and it was a penalty. So I feel good.”

The De Anza Dons defeated Navarro and her fellow Richmond High School teammates 3-1 on Thursday night. The Oilers, who are still looking for their first win of the season, were coming off a 7-0 loss to Concord High School only 48 hours earlier.

Even though they lost, coach Felipe Franco was also positive.

“I was happy with the way they played,” Franco said. “Finally.”

On a cold night in Richmond, white puffs of breath leaving the players’ mouths often substituted for words in lulls in the action.

The Dons took the lead in the first 40 minutes, but when the first half was over, the Oilers were confident about their play.

“Finally, I feel happy,” Franco said. His players were huddled around him, drinking water. “We are fighting for the ball,” he said.

“Ladies, we got this game,” said junior Joselyn Cortez, sitting on the turf as her teammates were huddled around her. “Don’t lower your level.”

The energy from halftime quickly left the Oiler sideline, as the Dons scored off a corner kick minutes into the second half.

Franco put his hands on his head for a moment, but then regained his positivity.

“Don’t stop!” he said, his words hanging over the field.

The Oilers didn’t stop, and 26 minutes into the first half a handball in the box, called against the Dons, set the stage for Navarro.

“It was my first time kicking a penalty kick,” Navarro said. “So the first reaction that I had was that it wasn’t going to go in.”

Navarro’s kick did go in. It snuck past the Don’s goalkeeper, on the lower-left corner of the goal, and at the time, the Oilers only trailed 2-1.

The energy from halftime returned to the Oiler players and sideline. But another goal from the Dons a few minutes later secured the win for De Anza.

On the team bus, waiting to go back to Richmond, the Oiler players didn’t look a team still searching for their first win of the season. Players were smiling, chatting, and laughing as Franco took roll.

For a brief moment, the pressures of finishing homework, attending high school and just being a teenager were gone. They were just kids playing soccer.

“What I like about it, is that you just go out there and have fun,” Navarro said. “If you are mad, you get your anger out. If you are happy, then you make a goal, you feel good about yourself.”

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