By MIKE PHILLIPS / Corsicana Daily Sun
It may be too soon to talk about a national title, but it’s not too soon to talk about being a national power.
That’s how they feel, how they look, and how they play at Navarro College, where the women’s soccer team might just be good enough to make a run at a national crown later this year.
For now, the Bulldogs are just happy putting teams away.
They made a huge step nationally earlier in the week, beating No. 4 Tyler on the road, and if anyone thought there might be a letdown after that huge, emotional win they should have been at Navarro Saturday afternoon to see what the Bulldogs did to Richland.
When it was over, it was 4-0, but it wasn’t that close. Navarro goalkeeper Kenia Medina had to make only two saves all day, and even though one of those was good enough for any highlight tape, Navarro owned the field, the game and the afternoon.
If you follow junior college soccer you already know this was the same Richland team that beat Navarro, 2-0, a couple of weeks ago in Richardson.
But this is not the same Bulldogs team.
“I think the win against Tyler was a great confidence win for us,’’ assistant coach Aric Bonner said Saturday. “But we‘re going to have to play them again at least once and maybe twice.’’
The victory in Tyler will no doubt lift Navarro in the national poll, where the Bulldogs currently sit at No. 10. And Saturday’s statement game against Richland won’t hurt the rankings either.
“It was great that we beat Tyler. It gave us more confidence,’’ sophomore Judith Bast, a sophomore from Germany who drove in the final goal of the day on a no-doubt-about-it penalty kick at the 3:50 mark. “It gave us more confidence to work harder and trust our talent.’’
The trust was there all afternoon Saturday as four women scored for Navarro.
“The win over Tyler gave us the trust to believe in ourselves to go to nationals,” said Trudi Carter, a freshman from Jamaica who blasted in the first goal of the day. Carter, who moves like lightning and has plenty of thunder in her foot, took a nice lead from Shanise Foster and found herself alone in the middle of the field. Richland’s mistake was costly. You can’t leave Carter alone. She’s that dangerous.
Carter made Richland pay. She buried a laser shot from about 25 yards out into the left corner of the net to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead at the 27:27 mark, and the Navarro women were just getting started. They wanted this one, and carried a ton of momentum all the way from East Texas back home for Saturday’s game.
“It was a great feeling to beat Tyler at their house, and we took that into this game,” Bast said. “And we lost 2-0 to Richland so this was like a revenge game. We gave it everything. We didn’t want to be embarrassed at our house.’’
“They played a little harder this time,’’ Bonner said. “Anytime you lose to a team and you play them in the second game, it pumps you up to beat them. We could have very easily had a letdown after beating Tyler, but I think we learned a lot from that game and they stepped up their work rate and their effort after that game.’’
Carter, who leads Navarro with four goals this season, didn’t play in the first Richland game, but everyone seemed to play with a little more pop in their step Saturday, including Corina Castillo and Valerie Delgado, a pair of freshmen who both scored their first goals of the season.
Castillo took an assist from Caroline Spencer, and ripped in a goal on a turn and fire move from about 20 yards out on the right side to give Navarro a 2-0 lead at the 15:20 mark in the first half that came just moments after Medina made her play of the day, leaping to bat away a bullet from Richland’s Jessica Dowse, who thought she had tied tings up at 1-1 when the ball left her foot.
The Bulldogs added a pair of goals in the second half. Delgado scored her first goal at Navarro with 4:50 left in the game, sending a shot from about 16 yards out from the left side. Tiffany Robinson got the assist.
It could have been worse. Foster, who played a brilliant game, just missed twice, including a money shot that bounced off the top bar, about two minutes after assisting on Carter’s goal and Natalie Torres had a near-miss five minutes later as Navarro took control early. There were times when Foster and Carter drove through traffic to frustrate Richland, and Gabrielle Ashley, Anai Vargas and Castillo all had their moments on the defensive end.
“We don’t want to lose another game,’’ Bast said.
That’s the goal now, and Navarro’s women played like it Saturday.
“We want to get to nationals,’’ Carter said.
Well, it may be too soon to talk about a national title, but national powerhouse? That statement was made loud and clear this week